24 October 2012


Reported this day in 1956:

Liner Queen Mary May Be Seized In Tanya Case, Hint

Washington, D. C.--A high immigration official said Wednesday that the British liner Queen Mary might be subject to United States seizure for carrying little Tanya Chwastov out of the United States on Oct. 3.

Tanya's departure was illegal because she is a United States citizen who had no passport, according to James L. Hennessy, executive assistant to Joseph M. Swing, immigration commissioner. The 1954 immigration law, he said, provides forfeiture to the United States of any vessel knowingly involved in such a violation.

Eye on Cunard Line

Hennessy told the senate internal security subcommittee that Swing had ordered a full investigation of the "fiasco" over Tanya's departure to see if "action against the Cunard line is warranted." The British owned Cunard line operates the Queen Mary.

Hennessy said the inquiry also was concerned with "a breakdown in communications" between immigration officials in New York and the service's headquarters here on the day Tanya and her Russian refugee father, Alexei Chwastov, sailed on the Queen Mary. An order to hold up the sailing was issued then revoked.

Halted by Custody Suit

Chwastov's efforts to take Tanya from London to Russia have been blocked at least temporarily by a custody suit filed in the British courts by the child's mother, Mrs. George Dieczok of Detroit.  Chwastov is a former common law husband of Mrs. Dieczok and the father of the child. The subcommittee wants to know what part, if any, Soviet officials in this country may have had in the removal of the child from the United States.

- The Milwaukee Journal

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