124.61/12–2545: Telegram

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

4268, ReDeptel 2592, December 20, 6 p.m. Department’s information is incorrect with respect to case of Mrs. Tolley. I have no evidence that any progress is being made or that Soviet authorities have any intention at this time of permitting Mrs. Tolley to leave [Page 1160] Soviet Union. The Secretary, however, has taken up question of wives with Molotov.77

  1. Secretary Byrnes was attending the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and United States, December 16–26. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union. Mr. Byrnes took this occasion to point out to Mr. Molotov the interest of members of Congress in the question of Soviet wives of American citizens being allowed to leave the Soviet Union and informed him that the Soviet Government’s attitude was not understood in the United States and was causing difficulties. This conversation was confirmed by Mr. Byrnes in a letter of December 24 to Mr. Molotov, and therein Mr. Byrnes called particular attention to the case of Mrs. Byron Uskievich, stating that her position had been pending a year and stressing the humanitarian aspects involved.