The Embassy of the Soviet Union to the Department of State

No. 143


The Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics presents its compliments to the Department of State and has the honor to communicate the following:

On July 31, 1948 the sudden disappearance of the Soviet citizens Oksana Stepanovna Kasenkina, 51, a teacher by profession, and Mikhail Ivanovich Samarin, 40, a teacher by profession, with his wife Klavdia Mikhailovna Samarina and their children Tatiana, Elena, and Vladmir, was discovered. It must be pointed out that all the aforesaid persons were ready to depart from the U.S.A. for the Soviet Union on the steamship Pobeda on July 31 and had all the necessary official documents and passage tickets. However, for reasons unknown at that time, Kasenkina and Samarin with his family did not come to the steamship Pobeda at the moment of its departure, nor were they in the apartments occupied by them as has been subsequently ascertained.

[Page 1033]

On August 6 of this year Y. M. Lomakin, Consul General of the U.S.S.R. at New York, received a letter from O. S. Kasenkina in which she implored him to snatch her from the hands of the organization—the so-called “Tolstoy Fund”, to whose farm the “Reed Farm,” Valley Cottage 4, she had been forcibly carried from her apartment on July 31 of this year.

On the following day the Consul General of the U.S.S.R. at New York went to the address indicated by Kasenkina and, with his assistance, O. S. Kasenkina left the farm. In this connection it should be noted that the heads of the organization, A. L. Tolstaya and M. A. Knutson, attempted to detain Kasenkina by force in spite of her categorical statement to them that she wished to leave with the Consul General and did not want to remain at the farm.

As O. S. Kasenkina has reported, the members of the organization, which is headed by A. Tolstaya and M. Knutson, kept after her long before the day of her departure for the Soviet Union, trying to induce her by intimidation and threats not to return to her Fatherland. In this connection they did not even stop at applying a narcotic injection with the obvious purpose of weakening her consciousness and will. On the day of Kasenkina’s intended departure for the Fatherland, members of this organization carried her away from her apartment to the-farm mentioned above and forcibly kept her there. During Kasenkina’s stay on the farm from July 31 to August 6, 1948, A. Tolstaya continued to intimidate Kasenkina and demanded that she write slanderous articles against her Fatherland, but Kasenkina rejected these base demands.

According to available information, M. I. Samarin and his family were also forcibly carried away from his apartment 3–B, 214 West 140th Street, New York, to the Kessel farm in the State of New Jersey on the night of July 30–31 by members of the same organization.

As is evident from communications of the American press of August 9, M. I. Samarin, after a week’s stay at the Kessel farm, was-turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by the organization headed by Tolstaya.

The above-described cases of kidnaping of the Soviet citizens O. A. Kasenkina and M. I. Sam’arin and his family, as well as a number of other cases in connection with which the Embassy duly corresponded with the Department of State, bear witness to the fact that the organization headed by Tolstaya is systematically carrying on activities hostile to the Soviet Union, not stopping at the forcible seizure of Soviet citizens with the acquiescence of certain government agencies of the U.S.A., which must be well aware of the activities of the organization—the so-called “Tolstoy Fund”. In this connection the statement of [Page 1034] A. L. Tolstaya to representatives of the press on August 81 of this year merits attention; from this statement it is clear that the so-called “Tolstoy Fund” has at its disposal an “underground” organization, the activities of which are directed toward preventing the return of Soviet citizens to their Fatherland and which in such activities resorts to conspiratorial methods.

The Embassy of the U.S.S.R. in the U.S.A. considers that the attitude of the government agencies of the U.S.A. toward the above-mentioned criminal activities of the so-called “Tolstoy Fund” constitutes a direct violation of the obligations assumed by the Government of the U.S.A. on the basis of the exchange of letters of November 16, 1933 between the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the U.S.S.R., M. M. Litvinov, and the President of the U.S.A., F. D. Roosevelt.2

On instructions from the Soviet Government the Embassy of the U.S.S.R. in the U.S.A. strongly protests the forcible seizure of the Soviet citizens O. S. Kasenkina and M. I. Samarin and his family by members of the “Tolstoy Fund” organization, as well as the toleration by government agencies of the U.S.A. of the criminal activities of this organization, which are clearly directed against the U.S.S.R. and which consist particularly in the prevention, by any forcible means, of the return of Soviet citizens to their Fatherland and in attempts to use them for purposes inimical to the Soviet Union.

The Embassy of the U.S.S.R. in the U.S.A. expects that measures will be taken by the Government of the U.S.A. for the immediate release of M. I. Samarin and his family and for their transfer to the protection of the Consulate General of the U.S.S.R. at New York until their departure for the Fatherland and insists on the discontinuation of activities of the so-called “Tolstoy Fund”, which are incompatible with the obligations assumed by the Government of the U.S.A. with respect to the Soviet Union.

  1. New York Times, August 8, 1948, p. 48.
  2. Foreign Relations, The Soviet Union, 1933–1939, pp. 2829.