861.20211 Gubitchev, Valentine/3–1149

The Secretary of State to the Attorney General ( Clark )


My Dear Mr. Attorney-General: In the case involving Valentine Gubitchev, the Department of State has concluded that the individual enjoys no immunity from arrest or judicial process with regard to the acts charged. We are informed that this is also the view of the responsible officers of the United Nations Secretariat. It would seem, therefore, that the Department of Justice has the choice of pressing criminal proceedings against this individual or taking steps with a view to his removal from this country.

After careful consideration of the many factors involved, the Department of State has concluded that, from the point of view of this Department, the interests of the United States would be better served by having the individual deported rather than tried and sentenced.

The principal factor leading to this conclusion is the need to protect United States nationals serving with the United States Embassy in Moscow against possible retaliation. While the United States does not recognize Gubitchev’s status as an official of the Soviet Government, that Government has stated it considers Gubitchev one of its officials. It may be expected that if the United States refuses to send him back to Russia, the Soviet Government will create an opportunity to charge with crime and bring to trial one or more employees of the United States Embassy in Moscow. These employees are United States nationals and are entirely vulnerable since the Soviet Government accords diplomatic immunities only to ranking officials of the Embassy.

For these reasons the Department of State would recommend that instead of pressing for trial, your Department prepare to proceed with deportation proceedings. Under the Headquarters Agreement [Page 780] with the United Nations, such proceedings may be instituted against a member of the United Nations Secretariat if he has abused his privileges of residence in activities outside his official capacity. While actual deportation proceedings cannot be instituted without the approval of the Secretary of State, given only after consultation with the Secretary-General of the United Nations,1 the Secretary of State is prepared, if the recommendation that Gubitchev be held for deportation is acceptable to you, to proceed immediately to consult with the Secretary-General in this matter.

We should appreciate your views at the earliest opportunity.2

Sincerely yours,

Dean Acheson
  1. Trygve Lie.
  2. In an undated and unsigned draft memorandum it is written that “On March 16, in discussing with the Secretary the Department of State’s recommendation that Gubitchev be deported, the Attorney General stated his view that it would be more difficult to obtain conviction of Miss Coplon if Gubitchev were allowed to go home.… The decision of the Attorney General to hold Gubitchev for trial was approved by the President on March 22.”