captors in any way. But when he returnednto the Soviet Union after the warnhe was received as a semitraitor, andngiven a prison sentence.nIf those who remained loyal to thenSoviet regime received such treatment,nclearly those who had actually foughtnagainst it could expect nothing betternthan execution if they returned to thenSoviet Union. The question then becamenwhether the Western Allies would acceptnthe moral responsibility for compellingnthat return under these circumstances.nThe fact that they did was largely the resultnof the fundamental decision of thenWestern powers to form an alliancenagainst nazi Germany with StalinistnRussia, probably the most oppressivenregime ever to have existed on the face ofnthe globe.nOne of the major motivations for thenUnited States’ willingness to engage innforcible repatriation was the fear that thenSoviets would retaliate by retaining ornmistreating American citizens freednfrom German captivity as the Soviet armiesnswept toward Berlin: if Soviet nationalsnwere not returned, then Americannnationals would not be either. Onendiplomatic official with excellent anticommunistncredentials believed that thenUnited States had no choice in this tragicnmatter. The Soviets could not comprehendnthe American readiness to considernprisoners of war virtually warnheroes, but they were more than preparednto exploit that attitude for theirnown purposes (and no doubt advised thenNorth Vietnamese to do the same duringnthe Vietnam War, with excellent results).nConsequently, after Germany’s surrendernrepatriation commissions and repatriationnpoints were established by thenSoviets in Western Europe and by thenWestern Allies in Soviet-occupied territories.nBut the situation was alwaysnasymmetrical. Since there were manynmore Soviet nationals in Allied handsnthan vice versa, the Soviets seized the opportunitynto dispatch to the West largennumbers of repatriation officials whonspent much of their energies on intelligence-gathering,nand allowed thenS O ^ ^ ^ ^ H H ^ MnChronicles of CulturenAllies litde in the way of reciprocity. AsnElliott puts it, “whereas the WesternnAllies admitted hundreds of Soviet repatriationnofficials into their zones of occupiednGermany, the most Moscow ever allowednWashington in its portion of thendefeated Reich was one American contactnteam making one limited excursion.”nThis was the sort of imbalancenwhich has been endemic in Soviet-nAmerican relations, but which the majoritynof State Department officialsnapparently consider vital to the maintenancenof world peace. The pattern isnconsistent: the Americans make concessions—oftennanticipatory concessions—nwhich they are thereafter unwilling tonrevoke under any circumstances, whilenthe Soviets, masters of obstructionism,ntake fiiU advantage of the situation andnconcede as litde as possible.nIn this instance the imbalance was toonsevere even for our Ambassador to Moscow,nAverell Harriman, who ordinarilynhad a high tolerance for such things.nAs early as March 1945 Harriman was sonirked by Soviet intransigence on thenrepatriation question as to propose certainn”retaliatory measures,” whichnwould have included imposing restrictionsnon Soviet repatriation officers tonmatch those placed on Allied repatriationnoflGcers; holding back on Lend-Leasensupplies; and allowing American exprisonersnof war to speak freely to journalistsnabout the difficulties they had encounterednin reaching their lines fromnSoviet-occupied territory. The State Departmentnwas greatly opposed to anynsuch measures, ostensibly fearing theynwould lead to further “retaliation”nagainst American nationals. Secretary ofnState Stimson, in particular, thought itn”very dangerous” to permit any publicitynto be given to the treatment of liberatednAmerican prisoners on Soviet soil.nThus the thread of collusion in the liesnupon which, as Solzhenitsyn writes, thenSoviet system is built, is woven into thenAmerican foreign-policy establishment’snapproach to Soviet reality: it may notnitself spread lies about the Soviet Union,nbut it willingly cooperates in repressingnnnthe tmth about it. This attitude is visibleneven today in the disputes over the approachnthat should be taken in American-sponsorednbroadcasts to the SovietnUnion and Eastern Europe.nxxt the highest levels the moral dilemmanof forcible repatriation was annabstract one: the numbers were too large,nindividuals were lost in forests ofnstatistics, higher reasons of state compellednthe implementation of a morallynrepugnant policy. The dilemma becamenmuch more personal to the soldiers whonhad orders to compel distraught Sovietnprisoners to return to their own executionsnor, at best, lengthy prison sentences.nOne general then serving as a DP commandantnrecalled the whole process asnthe “most trying” of his “entire militaryncareer.” At the Nuremberg trials Germannmilitary officers were convicted ofnmoral turpitude in having carried out inhumanenorders from their superiors—atnthe very time when American soldiersnwere told to follow just such orders fornthe benefit of an even worse tyranny thannthe nazi regime. But we, after all, werenthe victors. Who would judge us?nAmong those who found the wholensituation “trying” was William SloanenCoffin, in 1946 a student of Russian servingnas chief interpreter for American officersnin Platding, Germany and entrustednwith the task of sorting out those to benrepatriated to the Soviet Union. InitiallynCoffin was distinctly hostile towardnSoviet collaborators with the nazis, but asnhe heard their stories he began to understandnwhy they had acted as they did. Onnthe evening before their “surprise repatriation”na group of DP’s invited Coffinnto an evening of amateur theatricals. Henwas heartsick as he sat among them. Onenword from him and many of them couldneven yet escape the fate which awaitednthem, for the camp was “minimallynguarded”: the Soviet DP’s were keptnthere more by their trust in the Americansnthan anything else. But Coffin didnnot say that word, and on the next dayn1600 men who had trusted the UnitednStates were delivered over to nearly cer-n