The Embassy in Yugoslavia to the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry 1

No. 241

The Embassy of the United States of America presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has the honor to acknowledge the latter’s Note no. 46169 of April 5, 1947,2 referring to the immunities of employees of this Embassy and particularly to the arrest of the two Yugoslav nationals, Miss Milessa Markovich and Mr. Milosh Zmejanovich who were employed by the Embassy as translators.

The Embassy notes the Ministry’s view that the non-diplomatic personnel of the Embassy are not entitled to immunity and, under instructions from its Government, wishes to make it clear that the latter does not share this view. Particularly the Embassy is concerned to note the statement made in the Ministry’s Note that no general personal immunity should be accorded to the non-diplomatic personnel of a foreign mission, even including citizens of the country to which the mission belongs. The Embassy is confident that the Yugoslav authorities will in practice respect the special status of the American citizens on the Embassy staff.

With regard to the two Embassy translators now under arrest the Embassy notes the Ministry’s statement that the “Embassy employs persons who have been chiefly connected with quisling and anti-national organizations and who used to carry on with anti-democratic activity abusing thereto their employment with the Embassy.” It is, of course, not the Embassy’s intention to employ any Yugoslav citizens to whose activities the Yugoslav authorities might properly take exception, and the Embassy will not hesitate to take appropriate measures when such activities are brought to its knowledge. Nevertheless the Embassy must again point out that the information which the Ministry has transmitted to it is of a vague and general nature and must reiterate its request that it be informed of the specific charges against the two translators in question. Whereas the Government of Yugoslavia may justly insist that the employees of the Embassy engage in no improper activity, the Embassy has equally the right to be permitted to function without unwarrantable interference in its legitimate activities and those of its employees, both American and Yugoslav. The failure of the Ministry to inform the Embassy of the specific [Page 789] charges against the two Embassy translators, despite repeated requests and oral assurances once given that they would be so transmitted, must inevitably lead to the conclusion that there has been unwarrantable interference in the proper activities of the Embassy. The Embassy is therefore confident that a statement of the specific charges against the two translators in question will be transmitted without further delay.

The above-quoted phrase in the Ministry’s Note might be taken to imply that other employees of the Embassy besides the two now under arrest have been connected with quislings and anti-national organizations or that they are carrying on anti-democratic activities. The Embassy reiterates that in its own interest as well as that of Yugoslavia it will not tolerate any such activities on the part of any of its employees. It therefore requests the Ministry to inform it whether any other employees of the Embassy have been engaging in any improper activities and bespeaks the Ministry’s cooperation to transmit any evidence which the Yugoslav authorities may possess in this connection, in order that it may take such measures as the nature of these activities may require.

The Government of the United States considers that a minimum condition to be observed by the Yugoslav Government to permit the effective functioning of the Embassy is that it be notified whenever the Yugoslav Government feels obliged to bring charges against Embassy personnel, and that the Embassy should be advised immediately and in detail of the nature of such charges.

The Embassy takes this occasion to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the assurances of its high consideration.

  1. The source text was transmitted to the Department as an enclosure to despatch 790, April 15 from Belgrade, not printed. The note printed here was sent in pursuance of instructions contained in telegram 213, April 11 to Belgrade, not printed, which replied to telegram 361, April 9 from Belgrade, p. 786. (124.60H3/4–947)
  2. For a summary of the note under reference, see telegram 361, April 9, from Belgrade, p. 786.