The Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union (Stalin) to President Roosevelt 92
I have received your message concerning the evacuation from Poland of former American prisoners of war.93
In regard to the information which you have about a seemingly great number of sick and wounded Americans who are in Poland, and also those who are waiting for departure for Odessa or who did not get in touch with Soviet authorities, I must say that that information is not exact. In reality, on the territory of Poland by March 16 there were only 17 sick Americans, except a number of Americans who are on the way to Odessa. Today I have received a report that very soon they (17 persons) will be taken to Odessa by planes.
In regard to a request contained in your message I must say that if that request concerned me personally I would readily agree even to the prejudice of my interests. But in this case the matter concerns [Page 1083] the interests of the Soviet armies at the front and Soviet commanders, who do not want to have extra officers with them, having no relation to military operations but at the same time requiring care for their accommodation, for the organization of meetings and all kinds of connections for them, for their guard from possible diversions on the part of German agents who have not yet been caught, and other measures diverting commanders and officers under their command from their direct duties.
Our commanders pay with their lives for the state of matters at the front and in the immediate rear and I do not consider it possible to limit their rights in any degree.
In addition to this I have to say that former American prisoners of war liberated by the Red Army are in Soviet prisoner-of-war camps in good conditions, at any rate in better conditions than former Soviet prisoners of war in American camps where they have been partially placed together with German prisoners of war and where some of them were subjected to unfair treatment and unlawful inconveniences up to beating as it was reported to the American Government more than once.