124.60H3/2–1247: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Yugoslavia


90. Urtel 128 Feb 12. While no established rule in international law re immunity Embs alien personnel Dept has invariably taken position, based on comity and universality of custom, that employees of dipl establishments should be granted immunity without regard to their citizenship. See Depcirc instruction June 18, 19461 on precedents re immunities of local employees of AmMissions.

In Feb 13 talk with Yugo Amb. Acheson said we were concerned over Yugo arrests of Embs alien employees, pointing out they performed only routine duties and that Yugo arrests these aliens seemed reflect [Page 765] Yugo Govt policy to interfere with Emb operations. Replying Acheson’s expression of hope that alien employees now arrested would be released, Amb said he would take matter up with his Govt. Amb then referred to previous Yugo charges of espionage activities by Emb personnel claiming they acted in unfriendly manner detrimental to normal relations. Acheson replied we did not agree with Yugo position.2

You might inquire of FonOff whether Amb did bring matter up and if not verbally convey Acheson’s comments to FonOff. Failing favorable response to Kosanovich’s or your inquiries you may in your discretion send FonOff (urtel 148 Feb 18) note reiterating Under Secy’s comments to Amb and include following statement our position: “US considers local employees dipl Missions must of necessity be accorded immunity during period employed by Missions. US has consistently granted such immunity to foreign Missions in US on basis of need for unhampered activity of dipl Missions. This position is generally recognized and accorded on basis of comity and reciprocity.” You might also mention any pertinent portions Depts June 18, 1946 instr, and repeat our hopes, especially in view immunity accorded similar personnel in US, for early release alien employees.3

  1. Not printed.
  2. For the full record of Under Secretary Acheson’s conversation with Ambassador Kosanovich on February 13, see p. 757.
  3. Following a number of informal oral protests which had no favorable result, the Embassy on March 21 addressed a note to the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry substantially along the lines of this paragraph. The text of the American note was transmitted to the Department as enclosure 1 to despatch 786, April 11, from Belgrade, neither printed (124.60H3/4–1147).