The Acting Secretary of State to the Attorney General (Clark)

My Dear Mr. Attorney General: The receipt is acknowledged of your letter of October 2, 1945 commenting upon the draft of bill “To extend certain privileges, exemptions, and immunities to international organizations and the officers and employees thereof, and for other purposes.”

You state that the purpose of the bill is, among others, to extend “diplomatic” immunities to alien officers and employees of international organizations of which the United States is a member. Although it is in fact one of the purposes of the bill to extend certain privileges to persons in this class, Section 8(c) specifically provides that “No person shall, by reason of the provisions of this Act, be considered as receiving diplomatic status or as receiving any of the privileges incident thereto other than such as are specifically set forth herein.” You also refer to the possibilities of abuse of the privileges and immunities provided for in the bill. In this connection I should like to refer to the provisions of Section 8(b) giving the Secretary of State authority to determine that the continued presence in the United States of ‘any person entitled to the benefits of the bill is not desirable, and to the revision of the enacting clause set forth below giving the [Page 1566] President authority to terminate the designation of any international organization as being entitled to the benefits of the bill.

I am happy to note that if the Department of State offers the proposed bill to the Congress and recommends it as a useful aid to the foreign policy of the United States, the Department of Justice will not oppose the legislation. I very much appreciate the cooperative spirit with which you have approached this problem. For the reasons previously explained to your Department in connection with the consideration of this proposal, the Department of State does believe that the enactment of this legislation is important to the successful conduct of the foreign policy of the United States.

With respect to your suggestions for changes in the bill, I have the following comments:

You state that the provisions of Section 7 are broader than existing provisions respecting foreign government officials. Your attention is directed to the fact that Section 7 (a) provides that the privileges, exemptions and immunities specified therein to be enjoyed by representatives of foreign governments and officers and employees of international organizations (and members of the immediate families of such representatives, officers and employees residing with them) shall be “the same privileges, exemptions, and immunities as are accorded under similar circumstances to officers and employees, respectively, of foreign governments and members of their families”. Paragraphs (c) and (d) of Section 7, by amending Sections 3 and 15 of the Immigration Act approved May 26, 1924,20 would bring officers and employees of international organizations into substantially the same status as foreign government officials. Therefore, I believe that the point made in your letter, with which I am fully in sympathy, is adequately covered by the proposed bill. You also state that this Department might wish to consider whether subordinate employees should be included in the exemptions at all. This point has been considered by this Department, and it is believed impracticable to ‘attempt to differentiate between various classes of employees of international organizations. I believe that the practical answer to your point is that international organizations located in this country will find it expedient to recruit for lower grade positions almost entirely from persons located in this country.
With respect to your comment concerning the procedure for deporting a person admitted under the benefits of the bill whose continued residence in this country has been determined to be undesirable, your attention is directed to the fact that by virtue of the proposed amendment in Section 7 (d) of Section 15 of the Immigration Act [Page 1567] approved May 26, 1924, the same procedure with reference to the deportation of a foreign government official will be made applicable to persons admitted under the benefits of the bill. Therefore, I believe that this point, with which I am also fully in sympathy, is likewise covered in the proposed legislation.
With respect to your comment on Section 9 of the bill, this Department is adding the following clause at the end of this Section:

“provided that nothing contained in this Act shall be construed as precluding the Secretary of State from withdrawing the privileges, exemptions and immunities herein provided from persons who are nationals of any foreign country on the ground that such country is failing to accord corresponding privileges, exemptions and immunities to citizens of the United States.”

With respect to the point raised in the last paragraph of your letter, this Department is revising the enacting clause (Section 1) of the bill to read as follows:

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, for the purposes of this Act the term “international organizations” shall include only public international organizations of which the United States is a member and which shall have been designated by the President through appropriate executive order or orders as being entitled to enjoy the benefits of this Act; provided that the President shall be authorized, if in his judgment such action should be justified by reason of the abuse by an international organization or its officers and employees of the benefits of this Act or for any other reason, at any time to revoke any such designation whereupon the international organization in question shall cease to be classed as an international organization for the purpose of this Act.”

With these changes, and in view of your statement that the Department of Justice will not oppose the bill, the Department of State proposes to proceed immediately with this legislation.21

Sincerely yours,

Dean Acheson
  1. 43 Stat. 154.
  2. The International Organizations Immunities Act was approved December 29, 1945; 59 Stat. 669. For text of a press release regarding privileges and exemptions for international organizations issued February 20, 1946, see Department of State Bulletin, March 3, 1946, p. 348.