The Counsellor of Embassy (Durbrow) to the Chief of the United States Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union (Orekhov)1

My Dear Mr. Orekhov: I wish, to bring to your personal attention the case of Mr. Isaia Oggins,2 an American citizen who was arrested by the Soviet authorities in 1939, charged with espionage, and sentenced to eight years imprisonment on January 5, 1940. This man was last seen by a member of the Embassy staff in January of 1943,3 and since that time, on the instructions of the Department of State, the Embassy has repeatedly written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting a report on him, and I myself, as well as other officers of the Embassy, have several times taken up his case orally with Messrs Tsarapkin and Bazykin. The Ministry has not replied to any of our inquiries concerning his health, nor has it told us whether his sentence was to run from February 1939, when he was arrested, or from January 5, 1940, when he was sentenced.

Since his eight year term, figuring from January 5, 1940, instead of the earlier date when he was arrested, expires on Januar[y] 5, 1948, I urgently request that I be informed when and where this man will be released so that a representative of the Embassy may meet him and make the necessary arrangements for his return to the United States.4

I am, my dear Mr. Orekhov,

Sincerely yours,

Elbridge Durbrow
  1. Copy sent to the Department of State in an Operations Memorandum from Moscow on January 5, 1948.
  2. The Embassy in the Soviet Union had made additional, unsuccessful inquiries in this case in 1947; see Foreign Relations, 1947, vol. iv, p. 723, and footnote 3. For the origin of this case, see ibid., 1942, vol. iii, pp. 765771, passim.
  3. See ibid., footnote 11, p. 767.
  4. In despatch 298 from Moscow on March 25, 1948, the Embassy transmitted the Soviet certificate of death TsZ No. 008576 dated January 20, 1948. The report from the Embassy stated that Isaiah Saymonovich Oggins had died at the age of 49 in jail in the city of Penza on January 13, 1947, and that he had been buried in the Penza cemetery.