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92 Maloney to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 70 [1] MOSCOW, 21 March 1944, 4.44 p.m.


My telegram No. 12 to London, repeated to Canberra No. 19. [2]

1. I was requested to call and see Mr. Zorin, Chief of the [Department, who was] [3] available on 20th March, in connection with Polish matters. At the interview Zorin handed me the following note:

'. . . In connection with communication of the Australian Legation to the Peoples Commissariat of Foreign Affairs on the question of the grant of exit visas for departure from the U.S.S.R. to Polish citizens, the Peoples Commissariat has the honour to state that, in accordance with the regulations in force in the Soviet Union, consideration of applications from private citizens regarding grant to them of exit visas falls within the competence of the Authorities of the Department for Visas and Registration of the Central Militia.

In view of the foregoing, the Peoples Commissariat of Foreign Affairs cannot accept for consideration the lists of private Polish citizens submitted by the Legation with a view to grant to them of exit visas. Polish citizens applying for grant to them of exit visas for leaving the U.S.S.R. must apply to the above- mentioned authorities at the place where they reside.'

2. In answer to questions which I asked him for clarification of his note, Zorin said:

(a) His Department would not, in future, deal with any applications made by this Legation for exit visas for Polish citizens in the U.S.S.R.;

(b) All applications for exit visas must be made by individual Polish citizens to the Police Department in the district where the applicant resides;

(c) With regard to the lists of names of Polish citizens already submitted to his Department for exit visas by this Legation any person whose name is on those lists would have to make individual application as in (b). The Peoples Commissariat of Foreign Affairs would not take further action in respect of those lists;

(d) It did not mean that the Soviet Government no longer recognized the Australian Government as representing Polish interests in the U.S.S.R;

(e) The Legation could submit special cases to his Department for exit visas in special circumstances such as refusal or undue delay in consideration of the individual's applications to local Authorities. 3. This action, in my opinion, is a polite way of taking from Australia representation of Polish interests in the U.S.S.R. It indicates that no hope can be held out for the grant of exit visas to any further Polish citizens except in very special circumstances. I do not anticipate that the Legation will have any success in applying for exit visas for individual Polish citizens whose personal application has been rejected or delayed.

I suspect that in the majority of such cases there will be a further delay or 'reasons' given for refusal. It is conceivable that with the establishment of the Republic Commissariats of Foreign Affairs we would be told that the matter was under the jurisdiction of the Peoples Commissariat of Foreign Affairs of the Republic in which the applicant resided.

4. I propose to notify all the Poles with whom we have been in touch and whose applications are now pending, of the course they must follow. This will take a considerable time as there are thousands of people involved in our applications.

5. There will still no doubt be considerable correspondence with the Poles so long as we continue to represent Polish interests and the work of the Legation will hardly be reduced at all by this decision. It merely removes any hope we had of assisting the Poles to emigrate.

6. We are not advising the Polish Legation at Tehran and presume that you will instruct London as to how the Polish Government should be informed.


1 Repeated to London as no. 25.

2 Dispatched 25 January. On file AA:A989, 44/715/5/2/6, ii. It described difficulties in submitting lists of Poles seeking visas.

3 Words in square brackets were followed by signs indicating 'mutilated'. V. A. Zorin was Head, Fourth European Dept, Soviet Foreign Ministry.

[AA:A989, 43-44/715/5/2/2]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History