340.1115/3–3145: Airgram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Harriman) to the Secretary of State

A–70. Department’s telegram no. 667 dated March 22, 194559 concerning the repatriation case of Jan Czechel.

The Embassy is informed by the Bank for Foreign Trade of the U.S.S.R. in Moscow that there has been remitted by Sylvester A. Bartose $140 and by Ksaweri Yuszkiewicz $120 for Mr. John Czechel.

Mr. Czechel applied in January 1945 to “OVIR” (Bureau of Visas and Registration of Foreigners) of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs for an exit visa, but was told that he would have to [Page 1150]return to his place of last residence, a village in Grodnenskaya Oblast, Belorusskaya S.S.R., and apply there for an exit visa through the appropriate authorities. The Embassy explained to OVIR that, according to Mr. Czechel, there was no office of OVIR in the village from which he came whereupon the Embassy was advised to address a note to the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs regarding Mr. Czechel’s case.

On January 23, 1945 the Embassy addressed a note to the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs enclosing Mr. Czechel’s American passport No. 118/FS70947 with the request that a Soviet exit visa be affixed to it so that Mr. Czechel could continue on his way to the United States. It was pointed out that Mr. Czechel had traveled to Moscow for the purpose of applying for documentation so that he could return to the United States.

On January 30, 1945 the People’s Commissariat replied that the question of the departure of Jan Czechel from the Soviet Union was “under study” by the competent Soviet authorities, and that the Embassy would be apprised later of the results.

In a note dated February 26, 1945, the Embassy drew attention to the time that had elapsed since it had requested an exit visa for Mr. Czechel, and requested information from the People’s Commissariat regarding the present status of the case.

No reply having been received to the second note, the Embassy inquired again on March 28 and was informed that the case of Mr. Czechel was still under consideration by the competent Soviet authorities. The Embassy has been unable to ascertain the nature of the investigation that is being conducted in Czechel’s case. It was informed orally by the Chief of OVIR in a casual way that Czechel had violated a Soviet war-time regulation pertaining to the travel of foreigners within the Soviet Union by having traveled to Moscow without a “propusk” (permit).

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