Hitler proposed to Stalin to take all the Jews who were at this point under the German boot.
The former Soviet Communist Party Archive contains an astounding document. This is a letter from the Head of the Migration Directorate at the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR, E.M. Chekmeneva, Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars V.M. Molotov on February 9, 1940.
This is its full text:
Letter from Chekmenev to Molotov. Photos from the archive
Migration Administration under the USSR
February 9, 1940
Moscow, Red Square, 3
Telegraph - Moscow Resettlement
Phone K 0 95-03
To the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars
t. MOLOTOV V.M.
The resettlement department at the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR received two letters from the Berlin and Vienna resettlement offices regarding the organisation of the resettlement of the Jewish population from Germany to the USSR - specifically to Birobidzhan and Western Ukraine.
By agreement between the Government of the USSR and Germany on the evacuation of the population to the territory of the USSR, only Ukrainians, Belarusians, Rusyns and Russians are evacuated.
We believe that the proposals of these resettlement bureaus cannot be accepted.
I ask for directions.
Appendix: on 6 sheets.
Head of the Migration Directorate under the SNK of the USSR
At the same time, the very names of the German senders of the letter — if they were named in the letter — would make one's shudder. If we assume that the letters from the “Berlin and Vienna Migration Bureau” regarding the organisation of the resettlement of the Jewish population from Germany to the USSR ”were signed by their leaders, and they arrived to Chekmenev about a week before the letter was sent to Molotov, then the senders should not have been those other than Adolf Eichmann for the Berlin Bureau, and for Vienna - Franz Josef Huber.
The latter succeeded Franz Walter Shtalecker, the future Baltic Jewesser, as inspector of the Security Police and SD in Vienna, and was responsible for the general management of a number of organisations, including the Relocation Bureau. After the departure of Eichmann from Vienna to Berlin, the real leader was his former deputy SS Sturmbunführer Alois Brunner, who was appointed to this post in January 1941 and officially. But above them all was a thick shadow of the head of the RSHA and the protector of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich.
Yevgeny Mikhailovich Chekmenev. (The first one from the left in the second row.)
But the name of their Moscow correspondent - Yevgeny Mikhailovich Chekmenev - says little, even to the sophisticated Russian historian. Chekmenev was born in 1905 and died on April 21, 1963. Since 1927 - in the party, he graduated from the Moscow Academy of Socialist Agriculture and the Institute of the Red Professor, since 1938 - in responsible nomenclature positions. From June 1939 to April 1941 Chekmenev led the resettlement movement, being the head and chairman of the Board of the Migration Committee (later the Migration Board) under the USSR Council of People's Commissars. Since April 1941, Chekmenev was the deputy commissar of agriculture of the USSR, and since 1948, he was the head of the Main Directorate of Forest Protection Afforestation and, apparently, the deputy minister of state farms of the USSR. Later - deputy chairman of the USSR State Planning Commission, and since 1961, deputy chairman of the Procurement Committee.
The Migration Board, which received a request from Berlin and Vienna, was indeed the most correct addressee for Eichmann and his colleagues. That was the organization responsible in the USSR for the planning and organization of planned state relocations, carried out mainly on a voluntary basis. In this, it differed from the Main Directorate of Camps of the NKVD (GULAG), which was responsible for the forced relocation (deportation) of convicts and prisoners, and the Special Settlements Department of the NKVD, which was responsible for the deportation of administratively repressed.
Unfortunately, neither the “Supplement on 6 Sheets” (and this is most likely the original letters from Germany together with their translations), nor other related materials have been found so far - neither in the Russian nor in the German archives.
However, the essence of the missing German letters was conveyed by Chekmenev clearly and clearly:
But it contains not only a question, but also an equally succinct answer to this question: we thank you for the flattering offer, but we can’t take your Jews away!
In order to better understand both the question and the answer, we will try to look at the letters from Berlin and Vienna from at least three different points of view - from the perspective of the sender, from the perspective of the addressee and from the perspective of their relationship at the point in time when the letters were conceived and were written.
The main motor of the whole intrigue was, most likely, Eichmann.
On October 1, 1934, he served in the General Directorate of the SD, referent in the abstract II 112 (Referat Juden). In this Jewish (more precisely, anti-Jewish) essay, he dealt with issues of forcing Jewish emigration from Germany, studied Hebrew and Yiddish, met with Zionist leaders. In 1938, shortly after the March Anschluss of Austria, he was transferred by a referent of the same anti-Jewish essay II 112 to Vienna, to the Office of the Head of the SD in the regional department of the SS "Danube", whose head was the Inspector of Security Police and the SD Standartenfuhrer SS, Shtalecker.
Jewish emigration from Vienna at that time was faced with unforeseen difficulties of a bureaucratic order: Jews, whose emigration the state was so interested in, stood in queues for weeks. One of the reasons for this was the priority paperwork of wealthy and solvent Jews, who attracted German lawyers with good connections and paid them good money for this, which, of course, was not available to the poor. The socially (and not only nationally!) Sensitive Eichmann “stood up” for the Jewish poor and restored, as far as possible, “justice” in the line for expulsion from the homeland. The necessary paperwork cost about 1,000 Reichsmarks and took from 2 to 3 months.
Adolf Eichmann during his trial in Jerusalem in 1961. (Photo: Archives-AFP)
On August 20, 1938, the “Center for the Implementation of Jewish Emigration” (Zentralstelle für Jüdische Auswanderung) was established in Vienna - a special body within the Imperial Ministry of the Interior, designed to comprehensively regulate (in a hurry and speed up) the emigration of Austrian Jews and authorized to issue them permission to leave. The competence of the Center, located in a completely symbolic place - the former Rothschild palace on Prinz-Eugen-Str. 22 - included the creation of all necessary conditions for emigration, including negotiations with recipient countries, providing emigrants with the necessary amounts of currency, interaction with travel and transport agencies involved in solving technical issues of emigration, monitoring Jewish organizations from the point of view of their attitude to the policy of emigration of Jews , publication of relevant instructions and ongoing guidance on this process. The nominal leader of the Center was Stalecker, and his deputy and manager was SS Untersturmfuhrer Eichmann, his actual initiator, organizer and head.
Initially, the authority of the Center was limited to only two gau (provinces) - Vienna and the Lower Danube. However, by the end of 1938 his competences were extended to all of Austria (Ostmark). With the simplification of currency transfers and the involvement of the Vienna Jewish community in the preparation of necessary documents, the processing time for applications was reduced to eight days. As a characteristic know-how of Eichmann, one can note the principle of the Center’s self-financing: it was not maintained from the budget, but due to a special emigration fee levied on the leaving Jews. As a result
and in the first half year of its existence, about 150 thousand Austrian Jews were forced to leave the country with the kind help of the Center. Organizations similar to the Vienna Center were also established in Prague and Ostrava.
At the beginning of November 1938, that is, just a few days before Kristallnacht (November 9–10), Eichmann sent a report on the Center’s activities to the SS Sturmbunführer Erlinger in Berlin, in which, in particular, he reminded of his statement back in early 1938 year initiative to organize a similar body on an imperial scale. The events of Kristallnacht have added a lot to the anti-Jewish problems, so the decision of Heydrich to convene on Saturday, November 12, the meeting at the RSHA devoted to the development of the Reich strategy in the Jewish question, does not look surprising. At this meeting, Goering, on behalf of Hitler, emphasised the prospects of the “Madagascar Plan” (see the plan below), and Eichmann reported on his Vienna experience, as well as on the advisability of opening a center similar to Vienna in Berlin.
A morning after Kristallnacht in Berlin. (German National Archives-AFP)
Despite the pogroms after Kristallnacht, the “final solution to the Jewish question” at that time was conceived in terms of emigration rather than liquidation. In a kind of emigration rage, Eichmann agreed even to the point that in mid-February 1939, citing a more than twofold decline in the dynamics of applications for emigration, he proposed to release all Austrian Jews imprisoned there after November 9, 1938 from Dachau and Buchenwald and send them to where away from abroad. This proposal, however, did not meet with understanding in the SS.
Despite the confrontation of Jewish immigration from the Reich to the recipient countries, the emigration rates in early 1939 were quite high. This was achieved, in part, thanks to trips abroad by the leaders of the Vienna Jewish community and the Palestinian Bureau (the latter then sought half the quota for legal entry into Palestine), the build-up of the so-called “Chinese transports” and the activities for the professional retraining of emigrants aiming their lives in the Promised Land. “Chinese transports” served, as far as one can judge, only partly for relocation to Shanghai, but mainly for illegal immigration to Palestine.
But it was still some time before the idea promoted by Eichmann was implemented by Heydrich in Berlin. This happened the day after Hitler uttered in the Reichstag on January 30, 1939 his stinging words about the behaviour of democracies shedding tears about the fate of unhappy German Jews and simultaneously denying them entry documents. Eight days later, Alfred Rosenberg made similar provocations, whose diplomatic corps and foreign journalists became a shocked audience:
The new organization was called the "Imperial Center for Jewish Emigration" (Reichszentrale für Jüdische Auswanderung). Having been appointed to lead him since October 1, 1939, Eichmann leaves Vienna and returns to Berlin. Here, along with the troubles of emigration, he proceeds with the planning of the forced resettlement of Jews in the just-created (October 12) Governor-General for the occupied Polish regions (5), as well as inside and, if necessary, from it . And on December 21, 1939, Heydrich appointed Eichmann as head of the special report IV D 4 (Referat Auswanderung und Räumung) in the RSHA, which was called upon to coordinate all the resettlement of Jews and Poles in occupied Polish territory. As a result, Eichmann became a truly key figure not only in the development of a concept, but also in the implementation of the programs of all projects to “resolve the Jewish question”.
Their crown will ultimately be the organisation of transit camps in Western European countries and a wide network of ghettos at railway junctions in the occupied regions in the East, the concentration of millions of Jews in them - with their subsequent deportation to concentration camps and extermination camps. As a practice, he still has much to think about, master, propose and improve. The knowledge in the field of Judaica and Hebraistics will also have to be supplemented with information from human chemistry and physiology that helps to find the right solution when answering a difficult question, for example: which of the choking gases produced by the industry is more effective and cost-effective in eliminating which portions of human material. And those who consider him a clerk, a cabinet rat in arm ruffles are deeply mistaken: business trips to the ghetto and concentration camps prove the opposite.
The first Eichmann action in Berlin was the so-called Operation Nisko. After the occupation of Poland in September 1939, almost four times more Jews were in German hands than there were in Germany before the Nazis came to power - about 2 million people. About a quarter of them lived on lands incorporated directly into the Reich (two newly made Reichsgau - Danzig-West Prussia and Wartegau, which incorporated the annexed territory of western Poland with the center in Posen and the eastern part of Upper Silesia). Deportations and their liberation from the Jewish population seemed to be taken for granted and paramount. But the question arose: where? Where is this quiet, remote and not intended for "Germanization" place? Where will the Russian Pale of Settlement for Jews in its German version be revived? (6)
During September, the answer to this question was sought within the future Governor General: the ideas of a "Jewish state" near Krakow or the "imperial ghetto" in Lublin or near Lublin were discussed. Already in mid-September 1939, corresponding rumors spread among the Jewish population of the former Poland and even leaked to the press. At the very end of September, Hitler several times spoke out about the desire to resettle all Jewry, including German, somewhere in Poland, between the Vistula and the Bug.
So, it was not surprising that Eichmann and Stalecker, on the instructions of the Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller dated October 6 to deport Jews from Vienna, Katowice and Ostrava, left on October 12 for a three-day reconnaissance in the zone, at that time temporarily controlled by Krasnaya Army, and opted for a space of 20 thousand square meters between the Vistula, the Bug and San with the capital in Lublin.
Lublin. Jewish district during World War II. (German National Archives-AFP)
According to them, all Jews from all over Europe, but primarily from Germany, Austria, former Czechoslovakia and Poland, should have been taken to this reservation. Thus, it was conceived as the most important component of the strategic plan for a radical ethnic-structural reform of Eastern Europe in the forms of its Germanization. On October 7, 1939, the Führer appointed Himmler the Reichskommissar to strengthen the German nationality: in this capacity, he was also responsible for the deportation of Poles from areas intended for continuous Ariization (for example, from Danzig and Wartegau). The Poles were supposed to be partially relocated to the areas exempted from the Jews, so that the connection of all these efforts with what Eichmann was doing nearby was the most direct.
Actually, the deportation of the Jews began without any buildup - on October 9, 1939, an order was issued for deportation from Ostrava-Moravian and Katowice, and on October 10 - about deportation from Vienna. Jews were forced to sign statements that they allegedly voluntarily moved to a “retraining camp” (7). Departure stations were Vienna, Ostrava-Moravska and Katowice, as well as Prague and Sosnowice, and arrival stations were the main Nisko camp on the San River, as well as an intermediate camp in the village of Zarečie on the opposite bank. Both camps were not far from the Soviet border, and some Jews even managed to escape to the USSR.
The first train with 875 Jews was assembled on October 17, 1939 and sent from Ostrava, on the way, October 20, picking up part of the Jews in Katowice, and arriving in Nisko on the same day. In total, from October 17–18 to October 29, six trains arrived in Nisko with a total number of 4–5 thousand people.
It was allowed to take up to 50 kg of luggage that was placed in the carriage net above the occupied place. Devices and tools could be checked in luggage. It was allowed to have: 2 warm suits, a winter coat, a raincoat, 2 pairs of boots, 2 pairs of underwear, scarves, socks, a work suit, an alcohol lamp, a kerosene, a cutlery, a knife, scissors, a flashlight with a spare battery, a candlestick, matches, threads , needles, talcum powder, backpack, thermos, food. Money - no more than 200 Reichsmarks. Exemption from resettlement was possible either due to illness (officially certified), or with documents confirming emigration to another country (8).
It would seem that the Nisko-on-Sana reserve has a great future! Meanwhile, already on October 27, deportations were stopped, mainly due to the protest of Governor General Hans Frank, who had just been appointed to the post and wanted to make his Judenfrey (“free from the Jews”) all his estate. At the same time, the Nisko camp itself was not closed until June 1940, when all its inhabitants were returned to the cities from where they were brought.
So what: departmental authority, even the SS, lost to territorial authority? Hardly - no matter what Frank tells himself there. Rather, the conflicting parties here were two interdepartmental branches of government or, more precisely, two complementary, but at the same time competing with each other, “projects” of the Third Reich - Jewish emigration and German immigration.
the first ships from Riga and Revel arrived in Danzig almost on the same days as the first Viennese Jews in Nisko, in the second half of the second decade of October. A total of about 200 thousand Volksdeutsche was planned to be relocated from the Baltic states and Volyn to Wartegau, but Wartegau itself, accordingly, had to be quickly freed from the Jews and Poles. Initially, it was a question of the need to resettle 80–90 thousand Jews and Poles from there before the end of 1940, and then about 160 thousand more Poles alone.
But there wasn’t enough strength for everything, and the priority was given precisely to the task of immigration, supported by one more factor: already at the end of October, the USSR sent its troops to the Baltic countries, and Germany, like no other, firmly knew what would follow: annexation.
An additional serious factor was the new idea-fix of gaining a Jewish reserve - the so-called “Plan of Madagascar”. By itself, this exotic island as a place of possible Jewish settlement first appeared at the beginning of the century, in purely Jewish-Zionist circles. The first country to raise the issue of the Jewish population emigrating here, however, was not Germany, but Poland, in 1937 even sending a special Polish-Jewish commission to the island. However, the Jewish members of the commission after visiting Madagascar reacted to this idea sarcastically.
But the idea itself "did not disappear" in 1938-1939, especially after the international conference on the global fate of Jewish refugees, convened on the initiative of the United States and held in the French resort of Evian from July 5 to 16, 1938. The conference ended in almost total failure - under the sarcastic smirks of the German press.
and Great Britain invited them to resettle their colony in East Africa - Uganda (and why is it better than Madagascar?). The only result is the creation of the Intergovernmental Committee for Refugees, which subsequently negotiated both with Germany and with the host countries.
A map of Proposed Jewish Settlements in Madagascar in 1922
After the failure of the conference, the Nazis raised this idea to the shield. He considered the “Madagascar Plan” to be the least painful means of “neutralizing” Europe, and British Guiana and the former German South-West Africa were also discussed as a possible “alternative” to French Madagascar. In December 1939, German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop presented the Pope a peace plan, which included, among other things, the emigration of German Jews: Palestine, Ethiopia and Madagascar were considered as immigration countries in this regard. Quotes of Madagascar jumped particularly high after the defeat inflicted by Germany on France: the winner demanded a mandate to rule Madagascar (9).
In early June 1940, the head of the Jewish department at Auswärtiges Amt, Dr. Franz Rademacher, presented a plan according to which 25 thousand French people would leave a tropical island, Germany would organize naval and air bases on it, and 4–5 would be brought to the unoccupied part of Madagascar million Jews who will be engaged in agricultural activities under the supervision of a governor-appointed policeman appointed by Himmler.
However, Madagascar was already a completely cannibalistic project: this "paradise island" in climatic terms was little like a paradise for European Jews, and most likely they could not have been acclimatized there.
This plan was seriously abandoned only in the early fall of 1940 (10), when Hitler decided to attack the USSR.
Thus, the letters of Eichmann and Shtalekker to Chekmenev document the hitherto completely unknown project of "solving the Jewish question" - through emigration, evacuation or deportation (whatever you call it) of German-Austrian, Czech and Polish Jewry in the USSR. If you date the origin and discussion of the idea in December 1939 - January 1940, and sending letters (apparently via diplomatic mail) - the end of January 1940, then the Russian draft Eichmann (let's call it, purely conditionally, “Project Birobidzhan”) lies directly between the epicenters of two other major deportation projects - the Nisko Experiment and the Madagascar Plan.
There is reason to believe that, as in the case of Nisko, it was, if not improvisation, then in any case a purely departmental initiative of the RSHA. If it were otherwise, then Governor-General Frank was at least aware of such promising plans, and he, apparently, knew nothing about such a brilliant deportation prospect. In any case, in his general review of the upcoming mass resettlement campaigns in the Governor-General, he never mentioned it.
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin with the Kremlin's Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov
In each of the three projects, the Germans were motivated by one or another specific hope: in the Birobidzhan project, this was probably the hope of a "Jew-Bolshevik" International, and also, possibly, the reckoning on the inevitable disappointment of the Soviet side with the results of recruitment to move to the USSR among refugees from among Ukrainians and Belarusians in the Governor-General.
By the beginning of 1940, the Germans had a huge Jewish population in their hands - up to 350-400 thousand people in the Reich itself (including here Austrian Jews, and Jews from the Czech Republic and Moravia) plus more than 1.8 million people in the General Governorship in the former Polish territories. In essence, it is precisely about them that the letter says to comrade Chekmenev. To get rid of them was both a psychopathic dream and Hitler’s political goal.
But was this gift desired by Stalin? A gift of 2.2 million Jews - people with petty and big bourgeois psychology? Even with one and a half hundred thousand Polish Jews, the state has already suffered so thoroughly¸ sending them to peat mining or deportation! And who knows, is not the German spy, the spy of a country, which was meant to be defended exclusively on its territory, hiding under the guise of this shopkeeper or that tailor?
No, the heart of an internationalist tyrant, full of class love for the proletariat and bordering on anti-Semitism distrust even of “their” Jews, simply could not stand such a “gift”!
If they were allowed to live freely throughout the country, how much effort, energy, and cost would be required for their KGB operative service?
And do not send them all to the Gulag or to a special settlement, as was done in relation to several tens of thousands of Jewish refugees from Poland?
If you resettle them in Western Ukraine, as the Germans suggested, then there are already almost 1.4 million "captured" Polish Jews! Where to put them yourself, given the likely strategic importance of this region in the near future?
And if you send them to the Birobidzhan-on-Amur reserve, as the naive Germans also suggested, then it is designed for only a few hundred thousand people and its infrastructure is not able to digest more than 15 thousand Jews a year!
Jews at the Concentration Camp in Germany in 1944 (Photo: Archives).
The refusal of the USSR to such a flattering offer of Germany was programmed. The purely formal considerations given by Chekmenev are essentially ridiculous and even a little crafty (there are no “Rusyns” in the text of the agreement). Nothing was tied to the existing agreements either - with mutual desire it was easy to conclude a new agreement. The true motives for the refusal were, rather, in the other - in the pathological espionage of the Stalin regime, in a suspiciously mistrustful attitude towards the class-bourgeois Jewish mass from the capitalist countries, as well as on the colossal scale of the immigration proposed by Berlin.
It is not known whether Molotov and Stalin were fully aware of the consequences for European Jewry that their refusal would turn out to be. Stalin, who in a month would decide to destroy the Polish officers himself, and Molotov, at that time not only the chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, but also the people's commissar of foreign affairs, could well have figured out what could happen to them in ghettos and concentration camps when routine deportation no longer solves the whole problem.
At least another Soviet diplomat - F.F. Raskolnikov (a former ambassador to Bulgaria and an immigrant defector) perfectly understood the consequences of such a refusal. As early as September 1939, he addressed Stalin with a truly prophetic, open letter: “Jewish workers, intellectuals, artisans fleeing fascist barbarism, you indifferently granted death by slamming the doors of our country in front of them, which in their vast expanses can shelter many thousands of emigrants ".
The easiest way would be to respond to the discovered document with an exclamation like: “Ah, it turns out, the Jews of Germany, Austria and Poland could be saved! Hitler offered them to Stalin, but that bastard did not agree, did not save, left them to perdition! ”
But to think so would be a great simplification of the situation. The USSR pursued its own interests, the realization of which the mass arrival of Jews could only hinder. And Stalin would not be Stalin, if he was guided by moral probabilistic imperatives or simply pecked at Hitler’s fishing rod and removed this “headache” from him.
Not only that: it was the USSR that was practically the only country that hosted significant numbers of Jewish refugees from that part of Poland that was occupied by the Germans in September 1939. Those of them who were deported to the east against their will in June 1940 (contingent of “refugees”), were again, unwittingly and completely unintentionally, safe from the deadly German invasion a year later.
Having been refused (or, even more likely, not having received any answer from Moscow (11)), Eichmann was hardly upset. He, accustomed to study and know his enemy, was ready for this.
But a series of failures with a territorial solution of the Jewish question - Nisko, Birobidzhan, Madagascar - certainly prompted him to search and think out other ways - extraterritorial, much more radical and absolutely reliable.
Execution instead of expulsion, gas furnaces instead of ghettos, yars and quarries instead of camps, mass graves instead of Madagascar or the Far East.
Yes, the question then remained open. But not for long - a year and a half.
His later and other decision - suicide - as you know, went down in history under the terrible name of the Holocaust, or Shoa.
Pavel Markovich Polian, is a Russian historian, Doctor of Geographical Sciences with the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He works at an international historical and civil rights society Memorial. He authored over 300 publications.
1. RGASPI. F.82 (V.M. Molotov). Op. 2. D.489. L.1. Script. At the top there is a litter, presumably, of the addressee: “Arch.”, That is: “To the archive”.
2. Rusyns - a group of East Slavic population living in Transcarpathia, in the east of Slovakia and southeast of Poland. Some Rusyns consider themselves to be a separate ethnic group, some as an ethnic group within the Ukrainian nation.
3. The Brigadeführer SS Stalecker was the first commander of Einsatzgruppe A, operating in the rear of the Army Group Nord (he died at the hands of the partisans on March 23, 1942).
4. It is impossible to imagine that Heydrich and Molotov act in this case absolutely independently, without coordination, respectively, with Hitler and Stalin, from which both were at a very short distance.
5. From July 1940, this designation was reduced to simply “Governor-General”. It consisted of four districts - Krakow, Warsaw, Radom and Lublin. On October 26, 1939, Hans Frank was appointed Governor-General.
6. Of course, the expulsion of Jews beyond the boundaries of the demarcation line with the USSR was welcomed in every way, but the USSR had its own policy.
7. According to Friedman, Viennese Jews were forced to sign a “Memorandum of Relocation to Polish Provinces” for the purpose of colonization activities (Friedman, 1989. P.710).
8. It is interesting that the Nazi plans found "support" among some of the Russian emigration to Germany, in particular, the National Labor Union (See: D. Zaborovsky. Experience in resolving the Jewish question. // For the Motherland, 1939. No. 95, December 15 )
9. It is in the light of hopes on this plan that the deportation of the Jewish population of Baden and the Palatinate should not be taken anywhere else, but rather to southern France.
10. However, the “Plan of Madagascar” was recalled several times at the very top for propaganda purposes until 1943. The island itself was occupied by Great Britain in May 1942.
11. A letter from Eichmann to Chekmenev was sent to the archive without answering it: in the history of Soviet diplomacy, it is quite common practice.