740.62114/9–2845: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State 30

10125. Mr. Bevin31 informs me that there is in Italy a group of some 500 Cossacks formerly of Vlasov’s Army at present in the custody of the Allied military authorities. Molotov has again raised question of repatriation of Soviet nationals now in the hands of the Anglo-American authorities.32 Bevin and I are most anxious to have all Soviet nationals repatriated as soon as possible. Of course I realize there are some difficulties as to individuals with respect to their nationality. Bevin seems, however, to feel that these 500 Cossacks could be returned. He says Field Marshal Alexander has already referred the matter to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.33 Could you let me know as soon as possible what our Chiefs of Staff’s position is on this particular group. Bevin indicates that repatriation of this particular group might involve the use of force. I would of course hesitate about the use of force.

  1. The Secretary of State was attending the First Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers at London, September 11–October 2, 1945. For documentation on the participation by the United States in the Council session, see vol. ii, pp. 99 ff.
  2. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  3. See the Soviet delegation’s memorandum of September 12, 1945, circulated at the Council of Foreign Ministers, vol. ii, p. 151. For further consideration of this question at the Council meetings, see ibid., pp. 159, 326, 349, 360, and 457.
  4. Telegram 3721, September 27, 11 p.m., from Caserta, reported that the British Chiefs of Staff had informed Field Marshal Alexander that the British Foreign Office was pressing strongly for repatriation from Italy of the 500 Cossacks and considered that persons ordinarily living on Soviet territory within the September 1, 1939, boundaries, including Ukrainians and Byelorussians, must be viewed as Soviet citizens if Soviet authorities asked for them (740.62114/9–2745).