This is continuing commentary on the errors in the Vanderbilt University awarded History Honors Thesis
Page 24 –
“warnings scratched into the cars…” these were not cars – these were railroad wagons, actually freight or cargo wagons, and this was not a warning, they were a documentation listing the tally of individuals removed. A similar tally was found in Kozielsk by the officers who were brought in from Lithuania in June of 1940.
Page 26-27 and other pages –
which discuss the Soviet input into the war effort – fail at any time to mention not only the Polish input into the Battle of Britain, the land campaigns in North Africa and the ongoing input into of Polish intelligence into the British and US intelligence pool. This was not simply an issue of the Poles fighting in Poland. Certainly these points could be used to countermand the statement on Soviet input.
Page 27 and ongoing-
The facts relating to the English-speaking witnesses are something that I have been studying in detail since 2009 and documented in printed form in the summer of 2012. Certainly, additional facts have been made clearer - i.e. although by 2012 it was clear that that both Van Vliet and Stewart were code users, I did not locate copies of the coded letters concerning Katyn until August 2012; however, in 2012 I precisely describe the method in which coded letters functioned in detail.
However, among the multiple errors made concerning the witnesses I will only mention three at this time:
1- Both Lt. Col. John H. Van Vliet, Jr. and Captain (NOT Major) Donald B. Stewart were registered code users. Thus any assertion to the contrary is erroneous.
2- The description of secret reports – and the discussion of his original position imply that Stewart and by inference, Van Vliet, sent lengthy missives. Instead these were simple aerograms – the standard approved for POWs aerogrammes which were coopted to serve another purpose. They were no more than 1.5 pages long. The author is comingling the letters with the 1950 re-created Van Vliet report and the testimony of both men to the Madden Committee.
3- The coded letters were sent in June and July 1943 and again in the spring of 1944 (the latter was in response to the Burdenko report). They simply confirmed Soviet guilt they were no more expansive than that
4- There is no documentation that G-2 ever passed the reports on to the administration. (Which does not mean that I do not believe it was – but there is no ground for such a statement.)
Again this is not a report – it is a letter.
I would posit that the Catholic population in the US was not only concerned about the treatment of Poles in the USSR but of all Catholics in that nation. (One may need to differentiate between the hierarchy and lay Catholics, and also try to understand the position of Eastern Rite Catholics.)
Page 33 –
Charles Rozmarek was not only head of the Polish National Alliance – he was received by Roosevelt as head of the Polish American Congress which had been created in May of 1944. The Polish National Alliance (PNA or ZNP) was a fraternal organization primarily serving the life insurance needs of its members. Clearly, there were other similar organizations – thus his role as the head of the PNA was not of overriding importance. Rather the larger Polish American Congress (Kongres Polonii Amerykańskiej) was of greater importance.
Page 36 -
Footnote 98 – The Madden Committee existed for not more than 14 months – not several years.
Page 37 –
OWI – it would have been appropriate to note that the then head of OWI was future Senator Cranston.
Certainly not the only matter which was not disclosed to the Madden Committee – the coded letters were not discussed there, nor was the British Memo of June 1943, sent to MIS-X and others, which confirmed that there were British and US officers taken to Katyn. Information had been sent from the Oflag in May of 1943 – before the group even got to Katyn.
Page 38 –
Again, not a report – but rather coded letters sent by both Lt. Col. John H. Van Vliet, Jr. and Captain Donald B. Stewart.
“Previously the status of Maj. (sic) Stewart was classified…” The status of Captain Stewart was never classified and he was the first witness to testify before the Madden Committee. This assertion is patently false.
Further, neither Stewart nor Van Vliet ever testified before the Madden Committee about being code users, neither was it mentioned in any of the audio or video material is that they made. It was however, mentioned in Van Vliet’s final Oral History interview in 1995. All soldiers who were code users were required to sign an oath upon returning to the US that they would never disclose the code use. This requirement continued through Vietnam and even into Desert Storm. (I have not had occasion to interview veterans of later wars.)