860F.00/8–1348: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom


A–730. The Department of State appreciates the information and the views concerning the organization of Czechoslovak refugees which were expressed by Mr. Patrick Hancock of the Northern Department of the Foreign Office (Emb Airgram A–1615, Aug. 20).1 In further discussions on this subject it is hoped that the views of the Department as expressed in Airgram 558 of July 12, 1948,2 will be reiterated and assurances given that the Department does not intend at this time to recognize the Czechoslovak refugee organization in the United States as a government-in-exile.

As the Embassy is aware, the Council of Free Czechoslovakia has been formed in the United States3 and its views made known in a memorandum published in the press.4 The Department is informed that the Council has been formed as a temporary organization pending the arrival in the United States of Dr. Petr Zenkl5 and other Czechoslovak political refugees now in various Western European countries. The primary aim of the Council is to provide continuous financial assistance to political refugees from Czechoslovakia. The Department recognizes, however, the possible use which can be made of this group both in acquiring information from contacts still remaining in Czechoslovakia and in keeping alive the democratic traditions of that country. Consequently, use will be made of this group in our information program in Czechoslovakia and in the acquisition of intelligence material.

The Department is fully aware of Dr. Osusky’s previous political activities and the position which he occupies in relation to the pro-Benes group within the refugee organization. No particular encouragement has been given to Dr. Osusky other than hearing his plans for the future work of the Council. In order to ascertain the potential difficulties which may arise within the group as a result of Dr. [Page 430] Osusky’s political position, a study is now being prepared of the various forces which operate within the Council as well as the possibility of a split which might occur as a result of sentiment against Dr. Osusky. The information contained in this study will be communicated to the Embassy.

At the present time the membership in the Council is predominantly Slovak. Members of the Council have pointed this fact out repeatedly to the Department and have urged that prominent Czech politicans be brought to this country in order to provide a well-rounded organization. With the arrival of Dr. Zenkl and possibly Dr. Ripka, as well as others whose visa cases are now pending in the Embassy, the Department understands that the Council will reconsider its organization and its program and make plans for future political activity. At that time the Embassy will be requested to ascertain further the views of the Foreign Office and an effort will be made to adopt a uniform policy with relation to refugee groups, both in the United States and in the United Kingdom.

  1. Not printed. It reported that Hancock expressed the opinion that the value of a government-in-exile, should there be conflict with the Soviet Union, would be extremely limited and not worth the difficulties and complications which it might cause in the meantime. Hancock also reported that the British Foreign Office somewhat “frowned” on Osusky as an extreme right individual and anti-Benes in his point of view (860F.00/8–1348).
  2. Ante, p. 424.
  3. Prominent exile Czechoslovak political personalities meeting in New York on July 18, 1948, announced the decision to form a Council of Free Czechoslovakia to be located in Washington. The Council was not to be a government-in-exile but an organization to provide relief for Czechoslovak political refugees and to bring about the restoration of democracy in Czechoslovakia.
  4. Presumably the reference here is to the Osusky memorandum described in airgram A–558, July 12, to London.
  5. Former Czechoslovak Deputy Prime Minister.