The Ambassador of the Soviet Union (Gromyko) to the Secretary of State
Your Excellency: In answer to your note of March 23 on the question of the Soviet citizens liberated by the American armies, I have the honor to state the following.
As has already been pointed out in the Embassy’s note of February 27,7 the Germans, in violation of universally accepted rules of international law, through threats and repressions are frequently compelling Soviet prisoners of war and Soviet civilians forcibly deported to Germany to enter special units organized by the Germans which are used for various types of military tasks, including work in the immediate rear of the German army, in connection with which the Soviet citizens mentioned are occasionally outfitted by the German military authorities in German military uniforms. It is fully evident that these unlawful activities of the Germans are juridically invalid, and Soviet citizens falling into the hands of the Allied armies, even though they be dressed in German military uniforms, cannot be counted as military personnel of the German army, but must be considered as ordinary liberated Soviet prisoners of war or civilians, deported to Germany.[Page 1091]
From the above it is clear that the analogy between the Soviet citizens mentioned and foreign citizens serving in the American armed forces brought out in your note cannot be admitted as proved.
Consequently, the Soviet Government again insists that all Soviet citizens, liberated and being liberated by American armies in the course of military operations against Germany, are subject to transfer to the Soviet authorities for return to the Soviet Union. The Soviet Government considers it necessary, in this connection, to refer to Article 1 of the agreement signed in the Crimea on February 11, on the strength of which all Soviet citizens, without exception, liberated by armies operating under American command are subject to transfer to the Soviet authorities.
- Not printed.↩