740.00119 Control (Germany)/12–2145

Memorandum by the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee to the Secretary of State

The State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee has considered the question of the use of force in effecting the repatriation of Soviet citizens under the Yalta Agreement of 11 February 1945. The following directive has been sent to CG, USFET, and CG, USFA, in that regard:39

“Over 2,034,000 Soviet citizens have already been repatriated from Western Germany, leaving only approximately 20,000 Soviet citizens in the U.S. zone in Germany. It is the policy of this Government, pursuant to the agreement with the Soviet Union at Yalta, to facilitate the early repatriation of these persons to the Soviet Union. In the execution of this policy you will be guided by the instructions which follow:

Persons who were both citizens of and actually within the Soviet Union on 1 September 1939 and who fall into the following classes will be repatriated without regard to their wishes and by force if necessary:
Those captured in German uniforms.
Those who were members of the Soviet armed forces on or after 22 June 1941 and who were not subsequently discharged therefrom.
Those who are charged by the Soviet Union with having voluntarily rendered aid and comfort to the enemy, where the Soviet Union satisfies the United States military authorities of the substantiality of the charge by supplying in each case, with reasonable particularity, the time, place and nature of the offenses [Page 1109] and the perpetrator thereof. A person’s announced resistance to his repatriation or his acceptance of ordinary employment in German industry or agriculture shall not of itself be construed as constituting rendition of aid and comfort to the enemy.
Every effort should be made to facilitate repatriation of persons who were both citizens of and actually within the Soviet Union on 1 September 1939, but who do not fall into any of the classes defined in paragraph 1. However, in the case of such persons, you are not required to compel involuntary repatriation. With respect to these persons you are directed:
To permit Soviet authorities, on their own request and responsibility, free access to these persons for the purpose of persuading them to return voluntarily and assisting them to do so.
To take such practical steps as you may deem appropriate to minimize the development of organized resistance to repatriation, such as separating existing groups into smaller groups, segregating known leaders of any resistance groups, and such other practical measures as you may deem appropriate to prevent the continuance or recurrence of organized resistance.
To continue vigorous efforts to prevent the dissemination of propaganda of any kind designed to influence these persons against repatriation.
You are authorized in your discretion to permit Soviet authorities to have access to persons not specified in paras. 1 and 2 who are claimed to be Soviet citizens by the Soviet Union for the purpose of persuading them to return to their homes under practical arrangements which exclude the use of force, threat, or coercion.
Efforts should be continued to facilitate the transfer to the Soviet Union of all persons who since 1 September 1939 have been given the right to become Soviet nationals, who affirmatively assert this right, and who indicate that they desire the transfer.”

CG, USFET, and CG, USFA, have been instructed to show the foregoing directive to the appropriate Soviet authorities interested in the repatriation of Soviet citizens.

This Committee recommends that a copy of this directive be furnished to the Soviet Government through diplomatic channels.40

For the State–War–Navy Coordinating Committee:
James Clement Dunn

  1. The question of whether the United States should employ troops to compel the repatriation of Soviet citizens in Germany and Austria, regardless of their individual wishes, was under consideration by the State-War-Navy Coordinating Subcommittee for Europe during September, October, and November 1945. The report of the Subcommittee, submitted to the full State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee on November 21, 1945, as document SWNCC 46/8, recommended the draft text of a directive to cover the question. By informal action on November 28, 1945, the State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee approved SWNCC 46/8, and on December 20, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, perceiving no objections, from a military point of view, to the recommendations contained in the report, informed the Committee that the Directive had been issued to the Commanding General, U. S. Forces, European Theater and the Commander in Chief, U. S. Forces of Occupation in Austria. (SWNCC Lot File; Box.13: SWNCC Series 46)
  2. The Secretary of State circulated the text of the Directive at the informal meeting of the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers on the afternoon of December 21, 1945; see the United States delegation record of this meeting, vol. ii, p. 710. Molotov raised the question of the repatriation of Soviet citizens at the Fifth Formal Meeting of the Conference on December 20, when he circulated a memorandum drawing attention to alleged delays in the repatriation; see the United States delegation record of the meeting, ibid., p. 692, and the memorandum by the Soviet delegation, December 19, 1945, regarding problems of Allied policy toward Germany, ibid., p. 703.