IO Files: US/S/305, also US/SEC/61

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Deputy Secretary-General of the United States Mission at the United Nations (Power)

Participants: Mr. A. H. Feller, Legal Department, United Nations
Mr. Thomas F. Power, Jr., United States Mission

At Mr. Rusk’s request, I inquired of Mr. Feller whether he had written any legal opinion for the Secretary-General regarding the validity of Dr. Papanek’s credentials as Permanent Representative of Czechoslovakia to the United Nations, or his qualification to submit his complaint regarding events in Czechoslovakia to the Security Council.

Mr. Feller said that events had moved too quickly for written legal opinions on the previous day when the incident had occurred, but he had discussed the matter with Mr. Lie on several occasions (See US/S/287). The key to the Secretary-General’s ruling that Mr. Papanek’s communication must be treated as a non-governmental one was Papanek’s statement to the Secretary-General that he was submitting the document in his personal capacity. Papanek made the same statement at his press conference. Therefore, the Secretary-General felt that he must look behind the outward appearance of the document and Papanek’s action in submitting it to make an essentially political judgment that Papanek was not acting as the Representative of Czechoslovakia but as an individual.

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Mr. Feller said that he had had to concur in this view of the Secretary-General although it was his first belief that Papanek’s letter should have been given standard treatment and his communication submitted to the Security Council.