051.61/10–145: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in the Soviet Union (Kennan)

2103. Position of Soviet customs authorities in connection with entry of 47 pouches containing American diplomatic correspondence is not understood. There can be no question in this case of the authenticity of source of pouches or correctness of address. Dept knows of no nation into which its sealed diplomatic correspondence, properly identified, is denied entry, regardless of whether or not it is accompanied by courier. Dept is aware of no precedent requiring unsealing of pouches containing such correspondence for customs inspection. It is common practice for representatives of foreign embassies and legations in Washington to proceed to ports of entry such as New York or Philadelphia to receive incoming diplomatic correspondence and effect dispatch of outgoing pouches, which have been properly identified.

You should continue to decline to permit opening of pouches for customs inspection. It should be possible by communicating with Stockholm by mail or telegraph to correct any specific deficiencies in documentation of the 47 pouches in such manner as to meet Soviet requirements. This is merely a routine consignment of pouches containing material which under former procedures would have been despatched via Tehran.

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No reason is seen for calling upon this Government to pay duplicate transportation charges on material which has already arrived at city of destination.

Keep Department informed.