1)Agreement between the Soviet Union and Poland that released Polish prisoners of war held in the Soviet Union, but provided for their continued custody in Poland, circa 1956-58;2)Forfeiture of Polish citizenship by a person incarcerated in this manner;3)Treatment of returnee to the Soviet Union [POL1764]

1) An agreement to repatriate Polish citizens held in Soviet custody was part of the communiqué issued at the conclusion of the Moscow talks held between Polish Premier Gomulka and the Soviet Government in November 1956. For further details on this agreement, please see the attached excerpts from Poland: The Captive Satellite and A History of Modern Poland.

2) Questions of citizenship of this nature are difficult to answer because of the numerous boundary changes which took place in the aftermath of World War II. The excerpt from Hans Roos' book A History Modern Poland detail these changes. In essence, a person incarcerated in a Soviet prison during these boundary changes might have had her or his citizenship changed simply because of the redivision of Germany, Poland, Lithuania, and the Western areas of the Soviet Union. Information on the forfeiture, per se, of one's Polish citizenship is unavailable to the IRBDC at the present time.

3) The Department of External Affairs states that there is no maximum length of stay abroad, with the allowed time depending upon the circumstances of the visit, i.e. whether for business, family visit, tourism, etc. The Department of State's Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1988 also mentions that since 1 January 1987, the Soviets have ceased to specify the amount of time a citizen is permitted to remain abroad, and the time permitted appears to be assessed on a case by case basis. The information provided by External Affairs can not be corroborated in published sources at the present time.

The Department of External Affairs states that it is not a criminal offense to overstay one's exit permission. As an administrative offense, a violation of the exit regulations may entail problems with future applications for travel documents. But the Department further notes that a Soviet citizen who wishes to stay longer than originally permitted can go to the Soviet mission in the country being visited and request an extension. Similarly, those who have overstayed exit permission can "regularize" their status at the Soviet mission. If, however, the person concerned were in the country on official business, or if the person were in the Soviet military or suspected of having participated in espionage activities while abroad, the penalties can be quite severe. The External Affairs spokesperson did not elaborate on these penalties. The information provided by External Affairs can not be corroborated in published sources at this time.