MOSCOW, 3 June 1944
I have the honour, following my despatch No MU28/44 of 4th May, 1944 , to submit herewith a report on the performance by this Legation of its duties in connection with the protection of Polish interests in the U.S.S.R. during the month of May, 1944.
2. As the result of a combination of circumstances, the past month must be regarded as one of almost complete frustration in the few fields of activity now open to us. In the first place, not a single case has come to our notice of Poles obtaining exit visas since it became necessary for applicants to appear in person before the local militia authorities. Two months have now elapsed, during which Poles have been submitting applications, and I cannot avoid the conclusion that the Soviet authorities have no intention of granting any exit visas to them while present conditions continue.
3. The first obstacle, as has been pointed out in previous despatches on the subject, is the fact that the Soviet authorities insist on the presentation by applicants of valid Polish passports, endorsed with valid entry and transit visas, and very few Poles are now in possession of these. In cases where this objection has not been raised or else would not be valid, other reasons for refusal or delay have been given. Instances have been brought to our notice in which local authorities are alleged to have denied all knowledge of instructions on the subject, or to be obliged to refer cases to district headquarters or even to Moscow.
In other cases, applicants have had their passports impounded and have been told to obtain documents of various kinds from the Legation. Then again, others to whom the British Embassy here has authority to issue visas for Palestine have told us that the local authorities have expressed willingness to endorse exit visas on Palestine entry certificates. It has not been possible for us to supply these people with such certificates, since they have no real validity except when backed by valid passports and visas. It therefore seems that the Soviet authorities, while no doubt at all times maintaining a perfectly correct legal position, are meeting all applications with requests for compliance with just one or two more conditions than applicants are able to fulfil, in order, perhaps, to give the impression that the Polish authorities, or those acting on their behalf, are not prepared to take the trouble to help them overcome the last obstacle.