The Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Treasury (Morgenthau)

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I am in receipt of a telegram from the Honorable Laurence Steinhardt, American Ambassador to Moscow, in which he states that Mr. Dmitri Zaikine, Soviet Vice Consul at New York, and his wife, Klavdia, bearers of diplomatic passports with the customary visas, will probably sail for the United States on the steamship Rex from Genoa on or about November 1 with the Soviet Ambassador to this country, Mr. Constantine A. Oumansky, and the newly appointed Counselor of the Soviet Embassy, Mr. Gromyko. The Ambassador further states that the baggage 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 bearing visaed courier letters.

In as much as customs treatment is granted on the basis of reciprocity, it is suggested that the Collector of Customs at New York be authorized to search the baggage of the Vice Consul and his wife when they arrive at the port of New York on or about November 9 on the Rex. It should be made clear to the customs authorities that although they are free to make a thorough search of Mr. Zaikine’s effects, they should not call upon him to pay any customs duty, since the Soviet Government does not exact the payment of customs duties of American consular officers entering the Soviet Union.

A letter is being transmitted to the Treasury Department requesting that the Collector of Customs at New York be authorized to extend customs courtesies and free entry privileges to the Soviet Ambassador, Mr. Oumansky, and the newly appointed Counselor of Embassy, Mr. Gromyko, upon their arrival at New York on the Rex.

Sincerely yours,

For the Secretary of State:
George S. Messersmith

Assistant Secretary