The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé of the Soviet Union (Novikov)

Sir: I acknowledge the receipt of the Ambassador’s note of April 10, 1945, replying to my note of March 23, 1945, concerning Soviet nationals captured by the American armed forces.

All persons who claim Soviet nationality captured by the American armed forces while serving as members of the German armed forces in German uniforms are transferred to the Soviet authorities for repatriation to the Soviet Union. However, this Government must reserve the right to retain in a prisoner of war status those persons who themselves of their own accord insist upon being treated as German prisoners of war thereby bringing themselves within the scope of the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention. The reasons for the retention by this Government of these persons in a prisoner of war status are set forth in previous communications and in the Secretary of State’s note of April 9.12 As stated in the note of April 9 the German Government has recently notified this Government through the protecting Power that persons of nationality other than German captured in German uniforms should also be considered as German prisoners of war, and has threatened, if such prisoners of war are transferred to the custody of the Government of the country of which they are nationals, [Page 1094] to take retaliatory action against prisoners of war in its custody who are members of the American armed forces but who do not possess American nationality.

This Government has no intention of retaining these persons permanently and will be glad to take up their disposition again when there are no longer any American prisoners of war in the custody of the German armed forces.

Accept [etc.]

Joseph C. Grew
  1. Not printed.