311.6115/8–1248: Telegram

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

secret   urgent

1592. Following is translation of Soviet protest reported mytel 1590, August 12:1

On the 31st of July a group of Soviet citizens were to have sailed from New York on the ship Pobeda to the Soviet Union, among whom were the teachers of the Soviet school in New York, O. C. [S] Kasyenkina and M. I. Samarin with his wife K. M. Samarin and three small children, Tatiana, Elena, and Vladimir. The above-mentioned Soviet citizens did not appear up to the moment of the departure of the ship although they had previously paid for their tickets and had sent their baggage on to the ship. From information obtained it was revealed that the persons mentioned were not in their apartments, that Kasyenkina had left her apartment on the morning of the 31st and Samarin and his family during the night of the 30th to 31st of July.

Not until a week after the disappearance of Kasyenkina did the Soviet Consul in New York, Y. M. Lomakin on the sixth of August by chance receive from her a note in which she stated that she was in the environs of New York on the Reid [Reed] farm belonging to a bandit White guard organization under the name of “Tolstoy Fund.” In her note Kasyenkina requested the Soviet Consul to save her from the hands of the organization which by all kinds of threats and intimidations had tried to force her to refuse to return to her fatherland and to publish in the press a statement hostile toward the Soviet Union.2 Going to the address cited in the letter the Soviet Consul in New York actually discovered there Kasyenkina who expressed the desire to proceed immediately with him to the Soviet Consulate. In spite of this, the bandits from the organization “Tolstoy Fund” living on the farm tried forcibly to prevent Kasyenkina from leaving, which, however, they did not succeed in doing.

On August 7, at a press conference in the Consulate Kasyenkina stated that for a week she had been followed by unknown people of this kind, one of whom called himself Doctor Korzhinski and the other Leo Costello,3 who had tried by way of threats and violence to induce her to refuse to return to her country. In so doing, Costello even resorted to violently administering a narcotic substance to Kasyenkina, clearly with the purpose of weakening her will to oppose him. On the [Page 1036] morning of the 31 July, Kasyenkina was abducted by the chauffeur of a car in which the above-mentioned Korzhinski visited her on this day. This machine delivered Kasyenkina to Riverside Drive, to the apartment of a White Guard Zenzinov, from which place she was transferred to Reid [Reed] farm. At the time of her arrival at this farm, Kasyenkina heard from a member of a White Guard band called the “Tolstoy Fund,” Alexandra Tolstoy, that Samarin and his family also were there not far away.

According to a statement of the New York correspondent of the United Press, Alexander Tolstoy confirmed to this correspondent the share of her organization in the abduction of Samarin.

On the 10th of August Under Secretary of State Lovett corroborated to the Soviet Ambassador in Washington that Samarin had been made subject to examination by the Federal Bureau of Investigation4 which thus is found to be connected with the organization which kidnapped Samarin, his wife and three children.

Supplementary to the statement made by the Soviet Ambassador in Washington, I, on instructions from the Soviet Govt, register protest against the toleration on the part of the authorities of the USA, of the criminal acts set forth above with regard to the Soviet citizens, Kasyenkina, Samarin and his family. The Soviet Government insists on the immediate release of Samarin and his family, on their surrender at once for return to their country to the General Consulate of the USSR in New York and also on the punishment of all persons who have taken part in the kidnapping of Soviet citizens.

  1. Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith had reported in this telegram from Moscow on August 12 at 1 a. m., that Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, called him to the Foreign Office at midnight, August 11–12, to read him a “vigorously worded protest” about the alleged kidnapping of the Russian school teachers. The Ambassador “categorically denied the allegation that the U.S. Government or any of its agencies was in any way involved in illegal acts, that I could assure him that full and public investigation would be made, followed by criminal or legal proceedings, if warranted, against any violators of U.S. law” and that the school teachers would have their travel facilitated, if they desired to return to the Soviet Union. (311.6115/8–1248)
  2. Concerning this letter see footnote 12, p. 1027.
  3. Not identifiable.
  4. See the memorandum of conversation dated August 9, p. 1030.