As always, Diana is on target.
Below is an excerpt from American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character tragically, shockingly, angeringly appropriate for Memorial Day. One day, I hope, the sacrifice of these lost American men, too, will be recognized by the nation — and those responsible for their sacrifice judged by history.
From American Betrayal, Chapter 11:
On May 12, 1945, five days after V-E Day, the AP filed a startling news report from Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF): “Nearly half of the estimated 200,000 British and 76,000 American prisoners of war still in Germany are believed to be within the Russian zone of occupation and Supreme Headquarters has twice requested a meeting or an arrangement to arrange their return.”
Not two months earlier, as we’ve seen, Stalin had belligerently insisted to the now-deceased FDR that there were only seventeen Americans left in the Red zone, and that these last few American boys were safely en route to Odessa.
Behind the scenes, on May 19, 1945, Supreme Commander Eisenhower himself signed a cable stating, “Numbers of US prisoners estimated in Russian control 25,000.”
On May 22, 1945, ten days after the AP report, delegations from the Soviet and American armies met in Halle, France, to settle the POW matter. It was a meeting between a massive, guns-bristling, Soviet delegation and a much smaller and more modest American delegation. The problem they came to- gether to discuss sounds simple, but the Soviets made it anything but. Maj. Gen. R. W. Barker documented these meetings in a memo that describes the emergence of ghastly, heart-stopping complications: Americans in Soviet custody were “in effect being held hostage”; “we may find a reluctance to return them all”; and they might not come home for an “appreciable time to come.” The realization that they might never come home at all begins to break, dimly, like an execution-day dawn. 53
Another jolt of synchronicity: May 22, 1945, is the date on which ex-POW Major Van Vliet made it to the Pentagon to blow the lid off Soviet guilt at Katyn Forest for the benefit of U.S. military intelligence (G-2)—or so Van Vliet thought. His efforts, of course, as we saw in chapter 7, turned out to be only for the dead file. What we see on this day is an overlap of events that becomes difficult to explain without almost believing America’s stars were in misalignment: Just as Major Van Vliet in Washington was trying to unmask the murderers of twenty-two thousand executed Poles in the forest of Smolensk, Russia, General Barker in Germany was staring into the faces of those same murderers, trying to pry as many as twenty thousand live GI Joes from their clutches. Both attempts would be unsuccessful.