No sensation likely to be found in Katyn files declassified in U.S.

The Russian rights center Memorial wants to study the files on Katyn, declassified in the United States.

The U.S. national archives are publishing about a thousand documents on the mass execution of Polish officers in Katyn in 1940. Western media claimed that the most surprising thing about that was that the Franklin Roosevelt administration was informed that the Poles were executed by the Soviet secret police, the NKVD.

"We will examine them. I think most of these documents are subsidiary episodes connected with Katyn," the chief of the Memorial's Polish program, Alexander Guryanov, told Interfax on Tuesday.

"What may cause a sensation is a document proving that the United States and Britain were informed about the Katyn crime back in 1940. But I doubt that such documents will be found there," he said.

The Soviet Union's allies in World War II - the U.S. and Britain - had known about the Katyn massacre since 1943 but they were silent all this time, he said. "No firm proof that they were in the know earlier, from 1940, were available until now," Guryanov said.

After occupying Katyn German troops exhumed the bodies of the Polish officers, he said.

"Germans would organize excursions to show the Soviets' cruel ways for local residents and for delegations of POWs, who would be brought from German concentration camps. They would also bring in American and Polish POWs," he said.

"Before 1945, the U.S. and Britain possessed sufficiently convincing proof that the Katyn crime was committed by the Soviet Union and they did not discuss this information in order to save the allies' unity," Guryanov said.

"After Germany was defeated, the U.S. and Britain would silence all attempts to unveil the truth about Katyn as a crime committed by the Soviet Union. Many of the historians and Polish politicians condemned such a conduct as shameful," he said.

"After American POWs were liberated from concentration camps in 1945 they provided accounts about 'excursions' to Katyn. The best known of them was the report by Col. Van Fleet, which was allegedly lost. The American command would keep those reports under wraps," Guryanov said.

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