125.733/41, 42: Telegrams

The Chargé in Germany (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

659–660. Department’s 287, July 13, 5 p.m. In my conversations with Weizaecker I told him emphatically that personally I was thoroughly convinced that the Department’s action in regard to the exequatur for Linnell was taken entirely independently as such was the practice of my Government, and in outlining the serious situation which would be created by an enforced cessation of the functions of the Consulate General at Prague I emphasized how regrettable it would be if the German authorities should create such a situation.

I consider it desirable to reenforce those statements on the basis of the Department’s telegram referred to above. I am of the opinion, however, that the possibility of reaching a solution of the difficulty or reducing the danger that the German authorities may take some action with regard to the Consulate General at Prague will not be materially advanced by merely making such a statement to Weizsaecker [Page 465] and that I should not seek an interview with the State Secretary for that purpose until every possible means of avoiding the difficulties envisaged have been explored. Accordingly I venture to submit for the Department’s consideration the following suggestion which, although objectionable in certain aspects and possibly insurmountable, in short might offer the possibility of safeguarding the interests involved:

In my talk with Weizsaecker he professed that the refusal of the German Government to issue an exequatur to Linnell was due to the fact that the request was accompanied by an oral statement of the position of the United States Government on the matter of the forceful occupation of Czechoslovak territory. I was given to understand that if such a statement had not been made the exequatur would have been granted (see my 631, July 11) and, although I did not mention the matter and consequently obtained no assurances, there is some reason to suppose that a request for an exequatur for another officer made without repeating such a statement might receive favorable action on the part of the German Government. Aside from other considerations such a procedure would carry the two obvious technical objections of disrupting the Prague office in the first place and in the second place of furnishing the German Government with the opportunity, if it chose to avail itself thereof, of drawing the conclusion as to the matter of the recognition of sovereignty which has already been indicated. As to the latter point, however, if the Germans should openly adopt that attitude it would always be possible to point to the previous oral statement and in this general connection the discussion in Moore’s Digest, volume V, chapter XVI, section 698, might be of interest. As a consequence the German authorities might revoke the exequatur but in that event the situation in fact would be no different from what it appears to be at present.

If any action along this line should be considered in any way feasible by the Department I would suggest that the request for an exequatur for whatever officer may be designated be made by a note in a routine way without previous or accompanying conversation at the Foreign Office here, and accordingly I shall refrain from seeking an interview with Weizsaecker pending the receipt of the Department’s decision on the observations outlined above.

In connection with the foregoing I wish to add that the British Embassy here has volunteered the information that the British Ambassador, without instructions from London, approached the Foreign Office yesterday on the matter of the exequatur for the British consular representative in Prague and received a negative response.

  1. This message received in two sections, each numbered as a separate telegram.