The Department of State to the Embassy of the Soviet Union
Reference is made to the memorandum of the Soviet Ambassador of March 29, 1945 and to previous conversations regarding the Embassy’s desire that Ivan Matveevich Pika and Alexander Fedorovich Lobanov be returned to the Soviet authorities as deserting seamen.
The report of the competent United States authorities shows that Pika arrived in the United States as an alien seaman regularly signed on as a member of the crew of the Soviet SS Aleut. He was admitted at Seattle, Washington, on March 13, 1944 for a period of twenty-nine days. When Pika was examined by the Immigration Inspector at Seattle, Washington, on January 4, 1945, he was found to have overstayed the period for which he was admitted and it was consequently recommended that in accordance with Sections 14 and 15 of the Immigration Act of 192443 he be deported to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Pika was further informed of the alternative provided by law under which he would be permitted to depart from the United States by reshipping foreign to any country of his choice within ninety days.
The immigration records show that Pika availed himself of this latter procedure and shipped on a foreign vessel, leaving the west coast of the United States in February 1945.
According to the report of the competent United States authorities, Lobanov arrived in the United States at Portland, Oregon, as a member of the crew of the SS Stary Bolshevik. On May 7, 1943, he was admitted to the United States for the usual period of twenty-nine [Page 1144] days. The records of the Immigration Service show that Lobanov, shortly after his arrival in the United States, took a job as assistant to the Soviet Reserve Crew Inspector in Portland. It further appears that from September 16, 1943 to December 19, 1944 he was employed as a guard in the Soviet Purchasing Commission in Portland.
After examination by the Immigration Inspector on January 4, 1945, Lobanov was found guilty of having remained in the United States beyond the twenty-nine-day period for which he was admitted in May 1943. It was recommended that under Sections 14 and 15 of the Immigration Act of 1924 he be deported to the Soviet Union.
The immigration records show that Lobanov availed himself of the alternative provided for by United States statute and that he departed by reshipping foreign from a west coast port in January 1945.
Reference is made in this connection to the Department’s memorandum of October 6, 194344 and to the Department’s note of January 8, 194445 (case of Alexandre Simeonovitch Yegorov) which outlined in detail the long-standing practice of the United States Government in dealing with questions of deserting seamen under which a foreign seaman, who has deserted his ship and remained in the United States illegally, may either be deported to his native country or, if he so desires, be permitted to depart from the United States within ninety days on any non-American vessel of his own choice.
In conformity with this long-standing practice, the two above-mentioned seamen departed from the United States under the procedure which is applicable in the cases of all foreign seamen who have deserted their ships in the United States and, therefore, these two individuals are no longer under the jurisdiction of United States law. Under the circumstances, it will be impossible to comply with the Embassy’s request that these individuals be turned over to the Soviet authorities.