The Secretary of State to the Ambassador of the Soviet Union ( Panyushkin )1

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to His Excellency the Ambassador of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and has the honor to refer to his note no. 156 of August 24, 1948 regarding the case of Mrs. Kasenkina and Mr. Samarin and to acknowledge the receipt of photostatic copies of the two letters by Mrs. Kasenkina which were requested in the Department’s note dated August 19, 1948.

The Department of State notes that the Soviet Government reaffirms the position taken in its earlier communications on this subject and rejects the position of the Department of State with respect to the abuse of his prerogatives by the Consul General of the USSR in New York. The Department of State has nothing to add to its note on this subject dated August 19, and must categorically reject as without any basis in fact the wholly unsubstantiated accusations made against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the welfare organization known as the Tolstoy Foundation.

The Department of State also notes that the Soviet Government again “insists that opportunity for free and unobstructed access to Kasenkina and Samarin be granted to the representatives of the Soviet Union in the U.S.A.” The Department in its note of August 19, 1948 stated that they were completely free to see any Soviet official if they desired, but that this Government could not compel either of them to do so. The Soviet Government must therefore have realized that compliance with this request would be incompatible with the principles of law on which the United States Government was founded and to which it adheres. The persons of individuals in the United States are not liable to restraint or compulsion except in accordance with duly enacted statutes and subject to constitutional safeguards. It is a matter exclusively for the determination of Mrs. Kasenkina and Mr. Samarin whether they will see the representatives of the Soviet Government.

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Mrs. Kasenkina has stated to Soviet Vice Consul Chepurnyk[h] in the presence of witnesses that she does not wish to see him or any other Soviet representative. Mrs. Kasenkina has been under no restrictions of any kind other than those normally required by medical practice for patients suffering from injuries such as she sustained. It is understood that she is rapidly regaining her health. Upon her recovery and departure from the hospital, Mrs. Kasenkina will continue to be free to see whomsoever she wishes, and of course she will enjoy complete freedom of movement. Mr. Samarin has stated under oath to a subcommittee of the Congress, before which he appeared at his own request, that he determined voluntarily and on his own initiative to renounce his Soviet citizenship and to remain in the United States. He of course enjoys complete freedom of movement and can see whomsoever he wishes. In these circumstances, the United States Government must consider the matter closed.

The Department of State has taken note of the intention of the Soviet Government to close its Consulates General at New York and San Francisco, and its decision, in conformity with the principle of reciprocity, to consider the United States Consulate General at Vladivostok subject to immediate closing, and to withdraw the permission for the opening of a United States Consulate General at Leningrad. Accordingly, on August 27 the Department of State closed the United States Consulate General in Vladivostok and is completing the necessary arrangements for vacating the premises as promptly as possible.2 The Department will appreciate being advised of the official dates of the final closing of the Soviet Consulates General in the United States.3

  1. The text of this note was sent to the Embassy in the Soviet Union in telegram 1083 from Washington on September 9, 1948, 4 p. m. It was also printed in the Department of State Bulletin, September 26, 1948, pp. 408–409.
  2. Preparations for winding up the affairs of the Consulate General at Vladivostok and for the clearing out of the property were begun at once. Vice Consul Scott C. Lyon informed the Department of State near the end of September with some apparent surprise that the local agencies at Vladivostok were cooperating extraordinarily well to assist in the closure, so that he expected to be able to depart for Moscow on October 1, 1948.
  3. The Department of State noted that the consulates general of the Soviet Union were closed for business on August 26, 1948. The Embassy of the Soviet Union declared in its note No. 1 of January 6, 1949, that “August 24, 1948 should be considered the official date of the closing of the Consulates General of the U.S.S.R. in the U.S.A.” (702.6111/1–649) At New York, the premises were reported as evacuated on September 30, and the last personnel entrained from San Francisco on October 1. The sailings on the way to the Soviet Union of Vice Consul Chepurnykh with his family, and of Consul General Lomakin, were reported in the New York Times, August 26 and 29, 1948, p. 1.