711.4027/2–4249: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Vincent) to the Secretary of State


200. After consultation with British I called today noon FonOff, accompanied by Deak1 and communicated to Zehnder2 substance Department’s circular instruction January 5,3 expressing hope Swiss Government shares our viewpoint and would cooperate in course of action toward USSR, satellites. I previously agreed with British that (a) approach be made individually to avoid impression joint pressure: (b) initial step be taken by US with UK closely following; (c) approach be informal (i.e. without presentation of note or memo).

Solid foundation having already been laid during previous conversations with Zehnder re control export war potential goods to curtain countries (see Torep 67 to Paris January 19, repeated Department 964). Zehnder’s reaction to outlined policy and our request for Swiss cooperation was favorable. He apparently understood immediately underlying considerations and objectives and expressed view Swiss cooperation “can be arranged”. Following points emerging from conversations should be recorded:

Memo paragraph 7 (a) and (b). Zehnder pointed out CSA only satellite airline operating to Switzerland. Upon query whether we desire any action this regard I assured him we do not ask for time being that Swiss disturb existing arrangement but expressed our hope service Zurich-Praha route would not be increased and CSA operations would be closely observed, especially re possible use Soviet crew members. He saw no difficulty in confining facilities for CSA as recommended in paragraph 7(b). Zehnder stated cornerstone Swiss civil aviation policy is true reciprocity; attempted air agreement negotiations by Hungarians, Rumanians, Bulgarians, Yugoslavs failed because those countries were unable or unwilling grant Swiss full reciprocity.
Paragraph 7(c). Zehnder stated measures for control of exports and reexports already in preparation pursuant previous talks we had with Swiss on trade in general with curtain countries/Switzerland not being major aircraft manufacturer (only few small sport planes being manufactured by Pilatus which reported no intention to export) only export of chronometers, precision instruments for aircraft need to be studied in light commitments in trade agreements with satellites. Principal problem is prevention reexport in transit trade which is difficult to control. Zehnder pointed out primary burden on original manufacturing countries and emphasized importance of coordination identical export policies by principal producers (US, UK, France). [Page 193] He conceded necessity Swiss cooperation through certification (either by Chambers Commerce or Federal Commerce Department). No period bona fide purchase and innocent ultimate destination of equipment bought by Swiss and expressed belief cooperative measures could be worked out.
Paragraph 7(d). Swiss having no major facilities, no action by Swiss required.
In connection list of satellites (memo paragraph 1) Zehnder inquired whether Yugoslavia still included. We replied that while possible reorientation general policy toward Yugoslavia under study, we do not yet feel Yugoslavia should be treated differently aviationwise from other satellites.
Zehnder asked implementation should not be discussed on working level (i.e. with Federal air officers) until he had chance discuss matter with Federal Council and prepare ground which he expects will take about eight days.

On whole, Zehnders reaction was sympathetic; our impression is we can expect his advocacy of effective Swiss cooperation on an informal basis and discreet form.

Sent Department 200, repeated London 9, Paris 15, pouched Rome, Cairo, Moscow.

  1. Francis Deak, Economic Officer and Attaché (for civil aviation affairs) at the Legation in Switzerland; also assigned to Athens, Belgrade, Bucharest, Helsinki, London, Paris, Praha, Rome, Sofia, Vienna, and Warsaw.
  2. Dr. Alfred Zehnder, Chief of Political Affairs, Swiss Political Department.
  3. See editorial note, p. 184.
  4. Ante, p. 65.