871.00/6–946: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Representative in Rumania (Berry)

secret
us urgent

385. Mistels 57789 and 578 June 6; 588 June 9.90 Concerning arrest US local employees Dept in similar previous cases has consistently authorized representations to foreign govts on principles of reciprocity and comity. Rule to which this Govt has generally adhered in cases involving immunity of employees of foreign diplomatic missions from local jurisdiction is that if a State does not prohibit its nationals from becoming the employees or servants of a foreign diplomatic rep they are while so employed to be considered, without the limits of its jurisdiction. The one exception legally recognized in US has been in case of a process involving a debt contracted before employee entered the diplomatic official’s service.

It is suggested therefore subject to your concurrence in advisability [Page 603] such course that you reply verbally to FonMin re his note of June 6 along following lines:

“On basis of practical necessity and substantial universality of the custom of according immunity to clerks and servants of diplomatic establishments, regardless of their nationality while engaged in business of such establishments, US Govt over many years has held in principle and in practice that employees of foreign diplomatic officers in US are entitled to immunity without regard to the nationality of such employees. Consequently, this Govt considers that on the basis of reciprocity it is warranted in claiming and expecting immunity for clerks and servants in the employ of its Missions regardless of their nationality.

US Govt would be disposed to give due consideration to question of waiving immunity in individual cases in which persons employed by its Missions may be charged with violating Rum laws or regulations. But US Govt finds it wholly inadmissable that any personnel in regular employ of its Missions should be subjected to summary arrest by an organ of Rum Govt without prior notification to the US Missions of grounds for such arrests and without any request by Rum Govt for surrender of the accused. Such conduct is particularly incomprehensible on the part of a State with which friendly relations are in process of being reestablished while that State is still under an Armistice regime. US Govt, therefore, has protested vigorously against the seizure and intimidation of its employees.

When recently two employees of US MilMis in Bulgaria received summons for arrest by the Bulg militia, the Bulg FonMin expressed deep regret in name of his Govt as well as personally ‘for the intolerable action of the militia’. US Rep and US MilRep were assured by Bulg Govt that steps would be taken to quash the summons and to ensure continued availability of these persons for employment by US MilMis.

In the interest of an informal settlement consistent with usual courtesies in relations between friendly States of current unfortunate circumstances involving Rumanian subjects employed by US Rep and US MilRep, US Govt proposes the following:

1.
That the US employees under arrest or against whom a warrant has been issued be freed immediately and permitted to resume their normal duties in the employ of the US Missions without further molestation.
2.
That Rum Govt give verbal assurance that further intimidation of US employees regardless of their nationality will not be countenanced by Rum Govt; that summary arrests will not take place in future; and that, if Rum Govt has charges or suspicions relating to any US employees it will communicate these to US Rep for due consideration of the question of his waiving immunity in individual cases.
3.
That on basis of above understanding both the US note of June 1 and Rum note of June 6 be withdrawn and incident considered closed.”91

Sent Bucharest, rptd Moscow, Budapest, Sofia and Paris.

Acheson

[On June 14, 1946, the United States Representative in Rumania delivered a note to the Rumanian Foreign Minister stating that the Rumanian Government’s reply of June 3 to the American note of May 27 was unsatisfactory, A similar note was addressed to the Rumanian Foreign Minister on the same day by the British Political Representative in Rumania. For text of Representative Berry’s note, a copy of which was made available to the Soviet Foreign Ministry, see Department of State Bulletin, June 30, 1946, page 1125.]

  1. Not printed, but see footnote 87, p. 601.
  2. Telegram 588, not printed.
  3. In his telegram 706, July 13, from Bucharest, Representative Berry reported that he used the authority given him in this telegram in the course of a conversation with Prime Minister Groza on July 2. The Prime Minister assured Mr. Berry that he personally wanted very much to see the situation clarified and the general atmosphere improved, and he promised to communicate Berry’s suggestions to the interested Rumanian Ministries. He subsequently informed Mr. Berry that the charges against Miss Olteanu were very grave and that it was not yet possible to release her. (871.00/7–1346)