More-More-More-More-More-More-More Brief Memories of Shapiro

Here are some more memories of Henry Shapiro exploits as captured by the late Dick Harnett of San Francisco, founder of the Downhold listserv).

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In December 1943, a syndicated columnist reported that five American airmen who had crash-landed in Asia, and were interned in the Soviet Union, had returned to England.

Henry Shapiro, UP Moscow correspondent, received a rocket for confirmation of this. He talked to John R. Deane, of the U.S. Embassy.

Deane leveled with Shapiro, disclosing that he had worked out an agreement with the Soviet powers under which American airmen, by the hundreds, were allowed to "escape" from internment in the Soviet Union (which was then neutral against Japan).

It was a sensational story.

Deane said that, in fact, 120 American fliers were at that moment on a train to Tashkent where they would be allowed to "escape." The deal was that the train would have a "break down" and the internees would "vanish" but really be returned to England.

If the story were published widely, however, Deane thought the deal would have to be abandoned.

Shapiro said he would not storify. He told the UP desk there would be no story.

However, someone else who learned of the "escape" of Americans from Russian internment was apparently less reluctant to cause diplomatic damage and the story was widely published.

The airmen on the train to Tashkent were returned to internment camp. The Russians said American newspapers "talked too much" and they did not want to jeopardize their neutrality vs Japan at that point.

Deane recalled this in his memoir "The Strange Alliance."

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