840.414/6–2845: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

6519. Resulting from London press reports appearing at end of May to effect that three aircraft loads of German FonOff archives have been brought to England, Soviet Amb82 here has made demand to FonOff that Soviet investigators be granted access to examine these archives. FonOff states it made preliminary reply and promised to investigate matter. Sunday Chronicle of June 24 carried account of photographing and recording of secret documents by Air Ministry in London which clearly refers to microfilms obtained by joint Fon Off—State Dept CIOS team and copies of which have gone to Dept. FonOff states it is investigating source of leakage.

[Page 1113]

Emb has now received letter from FonOff stating Soviet Amb is pressing for final answer on this matter, but in view of fact that United States has same rights and interests in these archives as Brit, FonOff wishes to obtain Dept’s agreement to its reply. Subject to Dept’s approval FonOff propose to begin reply by saying that press reports seen by Mr. Gousev regarding arrival in London of carloads of German FonOff documents are unfounded in as much as all original German FonOff documents which have been discovered by SHAEF forces are still in Germany among large mass of miscellaneous German archives located at different places under SHAEF control. FonOff would go on to say that it presumes German state archives of similar type and value have been located by Soviet forces in their area of occupation. Facilities for examination in each case doubtless depend on exigencies of military administration and progress of sorting on the spot. FonOff would then add that only relevant material which has reached London consists of certain microfilm copies which are being processed and sorted by a technical dept preparatory to thorough examination and, where worthwhile, translation. Soviet authorities have no doubt similarly taken copies of German archives in their possession as matter of routine. In view of early stage of work done on Brit side FonOff have not even taken initiative of proposing discussion between Allied powers on exchange of copies of documents under their control and in circumstances it would appear premature to send experts to London in order to take advantage of any reciprocal arrangement which may be made in due course.

FonOff letter to Emb adds that it hopes shortly to be approaching Dept with proposals on whole subject, but that in meantime it considers it necessary to send a reply to Soviet Emb and it would appreciate it if urgent consideration could be given by Dept to the terms as given above in which it proposes to draft reply. If Dept desires inclusion in FonOff reply of reference to fact that the documents in question are under joint United States–United Kingdom control FonOff states it would have no objection to amending its draft accordingly.

Dept’s views urgently requested.

  1. Fedor Tarasovich Gusev.