The Department of State to the Embassy of the Soviet Union 1

The Department of State refers to the notes No. 143 of August 9, 1948, and No. 148 of August 14, 1948 of the Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and to the note which Mr. Molotov handed to Ambassador Smith in Moscow on the night of August 11, 1948 with reference to Mrs. Oksana S. Kasenkina and to Mikhail I. Samarin, his wife and three children.

In these communications and in the representations which the Ambassador has made to the Under Secretary of State, as well as in statements [Page 1046] which have been made to the press by the Ambassador and Mr. Jacob Lomakin, the Soviet Consul General in New York City,2 charges of the most serious nature are made not only against individuals in this country, but also against the Government of the United States and state and federal officials. The reports of the investigation being made by the competent United States authorities which have been received by the Department of State not only clearly demonstrated that these charges are unsubstantiated, but also indicate that officials of the Soviet Government have been engaged in conduct which is highly improper. The United States Government must categorically reject the charges and insinuations contained in these notes which have been found to be at complete variance with the facts. In this connection the Department of, State desires to inform the Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as follows:

Mikhail I. Samarin

According to reports of the investigation made by the competent authorities Mikhail Samarin voluntarily appeared at the office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York and stated he did not wish to return to the Soviet Union but desired to remain in the United States. After making this statement he left the office of the Federal Bureau of Invesigation without leaving an address. He then made a statement to The New York Times, which was published in that newspaper on August 10, 1948,3 corroborating his statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is clear that Mr. Samarin is acting on his own volition, and that he is free to get in touch with the Soviet Consulate General or the Soviet Embassy at any time he wishes. No information has been produced to substantiate the allegation contained in the Embassy’s note of August 9 that Mr. Samarin and his family were forcibly removed from their apartment.

In the note which Mr. Molotov handed to Ambassador Smith on August 11, it was stated:

On the tenth 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 Investigation which thus is found to be connected with the organization which kidnapped Samarin, his wife and three children.

The Ambassador will recall that on the occasion referred to the Under Secretary merely read a press clipping to the effect that Mr. Samarin [Page 1047] had voluntarily visited the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.4 This information does not in any way support the allegation that there is any connection between the organization referred to in the Soviet Government’s note as the Tolstoy Fund (presumably Tolstoy Foundation) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and this Government must categorically deny that any such connection exists. Moreover, this Government has no information which would justify the statement that the Tolstoy Foundation is engaged in criminal activity as alleged in the Embassy’s note.

Oksana S. Kasenkina

The reports of the competent United States authorities show that Oksana Kasenkina on July 29, 1948 informed the editor of a Russian language newspaper in New York City that she did not wish to return to the Soviet Union. Through him arrangements were made for her to go to Reed Farm, Valley Cottage, New York which she did in a public autobus on July 31. According to her own statements, which are corroborated by the testimony of a number of persons, she went to the Farm voluntarily and stayed there of her own free will. She has stated that she wrote to the Soviet Consul General in New York informing him where she was but she denies stating that she was kidnapped. The full text of her letter has never been made available to the competent United States authorities although its production would have facilitated investigation of the charges made in the Embassy’s note and it would be appreciated if a photostatic copy were furnished to this Department. This Department would also like to receive a photostatic copy of the letter which the New York police authorities found in Mrs. Kasenkina’s room at the Consulate General and which was returned to the Consulate General unopened after it was ascertained that she had jumped from a window of the Consulate.

Mrs. Kasenkina has further stated that the interview which she gave to the press on August 7 was arranged by the Consulate General and that she was instructed to make false statements to the effect that she had been kidnapped.

Mrs. Kasenkina was interviewed at the hospital by Vice Consul Chepurnykh. As the Ambassador was advised on August 14, should she desire to see any other Soviet official she is completely free to do so but this Government will not compel her to do so nor will it turn her over against her will to the Soviet authorities. This Government recognizes the right of Soviet officials in the United States to take appropriate measures for the protection of the rights of Soviet citizens. Such Soviet citizens are, however, themselves entitled to the protection [Page 1048] of the applicable laws of the United States and the Government of the United States cannot permit the exercise within the United States of the police power of any foreign government.

With reference to the Embassy’s note of August 14, 1948 complaining of actions of the New York police authorities, this Department is informed that after Mrs. Kasenkina had jumped from a window of the Consulate General on August 12, Consul General Lomakin agreed to the suggestion of police officers that they inspect Mrs. Kasenkina’s room, as well as the room from which she jumped. This inspection was carried out in the presence of the Consul General. In view of the circumstances, the Department of State considers the actions of the New York police authorities entirely proper.

From the foregoing it appears that the representations of the Soviet Government in regard to these cases have been based upon misinformation. In this connection the reports submitted to the Department of State show that the Soviet Consul General in New York, Mr. Y. I. [M] Lomakin, after having made statements which were the basis of the serious charges against this Government and its officials, hindered the investigation of the competent police officials by refusing to allow them to interview Mrs. Kasenkina. This action was the more serious in view of the subsequent statements by Mrs. Kasenkina to the effect that she jumped from the window of the Consulate General in order to avoid having to return to the Soviet Union. In addition to the statement made by Mrs. Kasenkina that she was compelled to make in a press interview false statements which had been dictated to her, the Consul General has himself made or issued statements to the press which, in view of all the evidence available, the Department of State can only conclude were deliberately designed to mislead the American public in regard to a serious charge involving the United States Government. The United States Government considers that Consul General Lomakin’s conduct constitutes an abuse of the prerogatives of his position and a gross violation of the internationally accepted standards governing the conduct of foreign officials. The Department of State is therefore requesting the President to revoke the exequatur issued to Consul General Lomakin, and it is requested that he leave the United States within a reasonable time.

  1. A memorandum of August 19, 1948 by John D. Hickerson, Director of the Office of European Affairs, explained that this note was intended to be sent to Ambassador Panyushkin at 6 p. m., and to be made public at 10 a. m., the following morning. Because it was stated in the last sentence that the President was being requested to revoke the exequatur issued to Consul General Lomakin, Under Secretary of State Robert A. Lovett was asked to make certain that the President was agreeable to this action. A notation reads: “Cleared with the President 5:20 P. [M.] Aug. 19th. L.” (702.6111/8–1948) The, note was sent to the Embassy in the Soviet Union in telegram 973 on August 19, 6 p. m. (311.6115/8–1948) It was printed in the Department of State Bulletin, August 29, 1948, pp. 251–253.
  2. For remarks made by Ambassador Panyushkin at his rare press interview held after his meeting on August 9 with Under Secretary of State Lovett, see New York Times, August 10, 1948, p. 1. Consul General Lomakin had reiterated earlier charges in a statement to the press, the text of which was printed in full in the Soviet press and in the New York Times, August 17, 1948, p. 3.
  3. The statement was made to the New York Times on August 10, and was published on August 11, 1948, pp. 1, 2. See footnote 3, p. 1038.
  4. See the memorandum of conversation by the Counselor of the Department of State Charles E. Bohlen, dated August 9, p. 1030.