311.6115/8–2448

The Ambassador of the Soviet Union (Panyushhin) to the Secretary of State

Translation

[No. 156]

In reply to the note of the Department of State of the U.S.A. dated August 19 concerning the case of O. S. Kasenkina and M. I. Samarin, the Embassy of the U.S.S.R. states that the Soviet Government considers the assertions contained in the aforementioned note as unfounded and not in accordance with the facts.

Passing over the facts stated in the declarations of the Soviet Government and its representatives, the note of the Department of State not only does not contribute to a clarification of the obscure points in the case of the kidnapping of O. Kasenkina, M. Samarin, and the latter’s wife and three young children, but only hinders the clarification of this case and the part taken therein by various persons and agencies. Hence the Government of the U.S.S.R. rejects the unfounded statements of the Department of State regarding the officials of the Soviet Government and considers that the actions and statements of the Soviet Government and its official representatives in the U.S.A. in the case of Kasenkina and Samarin are in full accord with the legitimate interests of the Soviet Union in defending its citizens against criminal encroachments upon their freedom and civil rights.

The Government of the U.S.A. has at its disposal a sufficient amount of information, including that contained in the notes of the Embassy of the U.S.S.R. of August 9 and 14 and in the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the U.S.S.R. of August 11, confirming the facts of the kidnapping of O. S. Kasenkina and M. I. Samarin, the participation in this case of the bandit white guard organization, the “Tolstoy Fund”, and the connection of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the U.S.A. with this case.

As to Kasenkina, both her letter of August 5 from the “Reed Farm” to Consul General Y. Lomakin and her letter to relatives of June 10 of this year (photostat copies of which were placed at the disposal of the Department of State1 in accordance with its request), as well as a voluntary statement made by her at a press conference before numerous correspondents of American newspapers on August 7 on which occasion she reported her abduction, sufficiently prove the unlikelihood of assertions to the contrary. In as much as Kasenkina is now being [Page 1050]kept in a hospital virtually under prison conditions and free communication with her by Soviet representatives is not permitted, the statements ascribed to her cannot be recognized as deserving any confidence, particularly in consideration of the serious condition of her health.

It is known from reports published in the New York press that the bandit white guard organisation, the “Tolstoy Fund” headed by Aleksandra Tolstaya, is involved in the kidnapping not only of Kasenkina but also of Samarin, of whose whereabouts nothing is known. On the other hand, the Department of State’s note of August 19 confirms the fact that only a few days after his disappearance M. I. Samarin was in the office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York. Even on August 10th, when Edward Mullins, chief inspector of the New York Police, visited the Consulate General,2 he stated to the Soviet Consul General at New York, Y. Lomakin, that Samarin was “under the protection of the Government of the U.S.A. and the Federal Bureau of Investigation”. Nevertheless, up to the present time the Soviet Government has been unable to obtain any information concerning the fate of M. I. Samarin and his family.

In view of the foregoing, the Soviet Government reiterates its position and the requests stated in the aforementioned notes of the Embassy and in the statement of August 11 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the U.S.S.R. to the Ambassador of the U.S.A. in Moscow and insists that the representatives of the Soviet Union in the U.S.A. be given the possibility of free and unobstructed access to Kasenkina and Samarin.

As to the accusations put forth by the Department of State against Y. Lomakin, Consul General of the U.S.S.R. in New York, to the effect that his actions allegedly represented “an abuse of the prerogatives of his position and a gross violation of internationally accepted standards”, the Soviet Government rejects these accusations as completely unfounded and not in accordance with the facts. The actions of Y. Lomakin, Consul General of the U.S.S.R. in New York, were intended exclusively to protect the rights of Soviet citizens, and his statements made to representatives of the press in order to establish the truth, so grossly distorted in inspired reports of certain American press agencies, fully conform to universally accepted standards and is a direct obligation of consular representatives.

In consideration of all the above circumstances, the Soviet Government states that a situation has recently been created in the United [Page 1051]States of America in which the normal execution of their functions by the Soviet Consulates in the U.S.A. has become impossible.

It is apparent from the note of the Department of State of August 19 that the Government of the U.S.A. not only does not intend to suppress those activities of the American administrative authorities whereby such a situation has been created—even to the extent of intrusion by American police into the building of the Soviet Consulate General at New York, as occurred on August 12, but on the contrary-justifies such clear violations of standards universally accepted in international practice.

In view of the aforementioned circumstances, the Soviet Government has decided:

a)
to close immediately both Soviet consulates in the U.S.A.—in New York and in San Francisco;3
b)
in accordance with the principles of reciprocity, to consider the Consulate of the U.S.A. in Vladivostok subject to immediate closing.4

On the same basis to consider the agreement previously reached between the Government of the U.S.S.R. and the Government of the U.S.A. concerning the opening of a Consulate of the U.S.A. in Leningrad as having lost its validity.5

  1. Photostatic copies of these two letters were received from the Embassy of the Soviet Union in its note No. 155 of August 24, 1948, not printed (311.6115/8–2448). This was the origin of the possession of texts of these letters by the United States Government.
  2. This visit by Deputy Chief Inspector Edward Mullins, accompanied by Inspector Michael J. Ledden, was characterized as “part of a routine investigation” lasting 20 minutes. Upon their departure they told reporters that they “had unsuccessfully attempted to interview Mrs. Kosenkina.” New York Times, August 11, 1948, p. 2.
  3. The Ambassador of the Soviet Union had addressed a letter on January 13, 1948 to the Secretary of State in which he declared that the activity of the Vice Consulate at Los Angeles would end on January 15, and that the interests formerly served here would be transferred to the Consulate General at San Francisco (702.6111/1–4348).
  4. For documentation on the establishment of the Consulate General at Vladivostok, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. iv, pp. 460463.
  5. Agreement had been given to the opening of a Consulate General in Leningrad after protracted negotiations in note No. 76 from the Embassy of the Soviet Union dated May 15, 1947; see ibid., 1947, vol. iv, p. 560, and footnote 1. The Department of State sent a brief summary of the present note to the Embassy in Moscow in telegram 1004, August 24, 1948, 9 p. m., not printed. In regard to the closure of the consulates it was anticipated that this would be announced by the Soviet government, at which time “we merely plan to tell correspondents that this is not unexpected and does not cause us any concern.” (702.6111/8–2448) See statements in the New York Times, August 25, 1948, p. 1, and August 26, 1948, pp. 1, 20.