Baron Alexander Meyendorff, relative of the assassin of Rasputin, graduate student at Harvard last year, avowed member of the Communist party, and present inmate of Ellis Island in solitary confinement, has appealed to the Harvard CRIMSON to "publish something in my behalf."
He is a White Russian who left his fatherland at the age of 11, got B.S. and M.S. degrees at the University of Chicago while in this country, and tried in vain last fall to get his passport back to Russia. At that time he was arrested and deportation proceedings were started against him.
Very few facts can be gathered about Meyendorff's case. The New Republic of September 15 stated that he has been trying to get a visa for five years, and an article printed in the Boston Post some months ago revealed that Russia refused to take him back.
The following is a copy of the letter he recently sent to the editors: A. L. Meyendorff, M. S. Room 214 Deportation Quarters Ellis Island, N. Y. C. September 26, 1941
The Harvard CRIMSON
I was a graduate student in the Department of Economics during the year 1940-1941. I was doing special research work.
Since June 21 I am confined here. The charge against me is that I belonged to the American Communist Party from 1938 to summer of 1940.
I am held in prison here under, to say the least, unenviable conditions. At present I am in solitary confinement. The food is inferior. I have not been in the prison yard, in the open, since early July. No boons were allowed until lately.
One might think that because I am confined here that I am reluctant to leave the United States for my native country. However, it is just the opposite, I was so anxious to go to the Soviet Union that last fall I applied to the immigration authorities for voluntary removal proceedings. These were refused. Instead I was arrested and deportation proceedings were started against me. It goes without saying that I made no secret of my membership in the Communist Party and properly registered that fact as required by the Alien Registration Act.
Last fall your newspaper published an interview with myself (Friday, October 18, 1940). The attitude of friendliness I then expressed towards this country I maintain now also. Perhaps few people believed me then that I was sincere in saying that my country is friendly towards yours. But events proved that I was right. Today my people is sacrificing far more than has any other during this war, in the cause of democracy.
I want to thank you sincerely for having then published that interview although it ran contrary to common opinion as to where we, the Russians, stand in the great struggle of our time. And I especially want to commend the courage of your reporter who interviewed me and then wrote the article so well.
At present my case just went to Washington (after I have been here more than three months). If you only wish to do it, you can help me by publishing something in my behalf (please send me a copy if you do). The New York "PM" had an article about my case on August 22; and, also, The New Republic (Sept. 15, p. 344). I hope that with public support, the forces of anti-fascism will triumph and I will be allowed freedom, pending the final disposition of the matter.
I understand that our young people are going to speak this Sunday to all of you American young people. I entreat you to heed their voice and not snub them. We, the Russians, are human beings like others and in this struggle not the least in courage, patriotism, lofty idealism and love of mankind.
I remain Sincerely Alexander L. Meyendorff