The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 19—12:43 p.m.60]
774. The Foreign Office requested the issuance of diplomatic visas and laissez-passers to Dmitri Zaikine, Soviet Vice Consul at New York, and his wife Klavdia, bearers of diplomatic passports. As the Embassy has tried repeatedly without success to obtain Soviet laissez-passer from the Foreign Office for American Consular officers and their families, the Embassy stated that laissez-passer would be issued to the Zaikines’ provided Soviet laissez-passer are henceforth issued to American Consular officers and their families, upon which the Foreign Office withdrew its request and stated that Soviet laissez-passer are issued only to those persons mentioned on page 4 of the Embassy’s despatch number 2134 of February 28 this year.58
The accompanying luggage of American Consular officers bearing diplomatic passports and possessing Soviet diplomatic visas, is examined most minutely both upon entering and departing from the Soviet Union, unless such officers are traveling as official couriers and bear visaed courier letters. The Embassy is issuing the customary diplomatic visas to the Zaikines, who the Foreign Office state orally will probably sail on the Rex from Genoa on or about November 1 in the company of Ambassador Oumansky. I suggest that the Department [Page 858]take the necessary steps on the arrival of the Zaikines in New York towards placing the customs treatment accorded the consular officers of both countries on a reciprocal basis by requesting our customs authorities to distinguish between the Ambassador’s baggage and that of the Zaikines.