52 Maloney to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 44 Moscow, 1 March 1945, 7.31 p.m.

IMMEDIATE

My telegram No. 40. [1] Prisoners of War.

1. I have now received from People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs a note to the following effect in reply to my notes of 10th February and 21st February. [2]

2. Information regarding all groups of Australian Prisoners of War liberated by the Red Army will, in conformity with agreement signed in Crimea on 11th February, be transmitted to the Australian Legation by a representative of the People's Commissariat for Repatriation.

3. Australian Repatriation representatives will, the note promises, be permitted, in accordance with the terms of the above agreement, to visit collecting camps and accommodation stations for liberated Australian Prisoners of War.

4. There are no Australian Prisoners of War among the Allied citizens so far liberated according to information available.

5. Regarding the question of utilization of Australian Prisoners of War for labour purposes, as is known, the note states-Mr. Eden in the signing of 11th February drew attention to the fact in a special note [3] that his signature for the Government of Australia does not apply to '6' of the agreement which refers to the possibility of utilizing for labour purposes former Prisoners of War and civilians.

MALONEY

1 Dispatched 23 February. It reported difficulties experienced by the British Military Mission and the Australian Legation in obtaining information concerning liberated prisoners of war, in particular in interpreting Article 2 of the British-Soviet agreement giving Britain rights of access to 'points of concentration'. In an apparent attempt to 1imit such access, the Soviet Govt had so far refused to name any point of concentration other than Odessa. In AA:A1066, IC45/6/2/1, i.

2 See Document 34. A second communication was mentioned in cablegram 40.

3 This read in part that, at the time of signing of the agreement, 'I am bound to place on record that my signature for the Government of Australia is subject to a reservation as regards to provisions of Article six of the agreement'. See cablegram D274, Cranborne to Australian Govt, dispatched 12 February. On file AA:A 1066, IC45/6/2/1, i.

[AA:A1066, IC45/6/2/1, i]