The Acting Counselor of the British Embassy ( Chilton ) to the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs ( Marriner )
Dear Marriner: A case has recently been brought to our notice by our Consul-General in San Francisco of a British subject who, justly or unjustly, was arrested and fined by the Oakland authorities for a disturbance of the peace.
Such cases are presumably of fairly frequent occurrence and would not as a general rule be of any particular interest to us, but it so happens that the transgressor happened to be an official of the International Labour Office of the League of Nations who was on his way to Australia on leave and who, in the course of his journey, subsequently attended the second session of the Institute of Pacific Relations at Honolulu as an observer of the International Labour Office.
In the course of certain complaints lodged with the Consulate-General, the offender—or victim, as the case may have been—who had with him a card of identification signed by the Director of the International Labour Office, raised the question of his right to “the diplomatic privileges and immunities” accorded to officials of the League of Nations under the Covenant. He did not, however, attempt to press the matter at the time of his arrest.
I should be very glad to have your views as to what privileges officials of the League of Nations are entitled to in this country. I understand that in certain circumstances League Officials are granted diplomatic visas by the United States Government, but as far as I am aware the extent of such privileges has never been defined.