840.50 Recovery/5–1149: Airgram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic and Consular Offices 1


The Joint Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation (the Watchdog Committee) established by Section 124 of PL 472, 80th Congress, sent one of its agents, Robert Golding, to Europe to investigate certain aspects of East-West trade, with particular reference to extent and effectiveness of controls of exports from the OEEC [Page 111] countries to Eastern Europe. As the result of concern expressed by the Dept regarding the scope and nature of Golding’s operations in this delicate field, the matter was discussed with Agent General of Watchdog Committee. Following that discussion, Secretary received letter, dated April 25, 1949, from Senator McCarran,2 Chairman of Committee, reading as follows:

“I am today sending out the attached instruction to our Agents in Europe concerning their relations with the United States Embassies in the participating countries.

May I suggest that you inform the Ambassadors and the U.S. Legations of this instruction and give them such directions as you deem appropriate to assure their cooperation.

I call your attention particularly to the importance of having our Agents enjoy complete freedom and independence of action.”

Enclosed with the above letter was a copy of a letter dated April 25, 1949 from Senator McCarran to Mr. Golding reading as follows:

“In carrying out investigations in foreign countries, it is necessary for Agents of the Joint Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation to recognize that the Congress of the United States has no direct jurisdiction over the officials of foreign governments or over business executives or other citizens of these countries. The maximum quantity of information will be obtainable only with the voluntary cooperation of the foreign governments.

It is anticipated that every participating government, when it understands the responsibility and authority of the Joint Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation, as set forth in Section 124 of Public Law 472, will recognize the importance of giving its full support to the Agents of the Committee and will avoid any action which might be interpreted as holding back information or covering up.

It is unlikely that the understanding and cooperation of the various participating governments can be obtained without the full support of the United States Embassy, the U.S. Special Representative abroad, and the ECA mission in each case. For this reason, you are instructed to make immediate contact with the United States Ambassador as soon as you arrive in a country, explain in general the purpose of your visit and ask that appointments be arranged by the Embassy with the principal foreign officials you desire to see.

It is understood, of course, that as an Agent of the United States Congress, you are to be free to make an independent investigation and to make a confidential report of your findings to the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation. The object is to carry on your work in such a way that the cooperation and support of the United States Embassies will be available to you.

An instruction is being transmitted to the Ambassadors and to each of the Chiefs of the ECA missions abroad outlining the working [Page 112] arrangement which should be established with our Agents and requesting their full cooperation.

It is not intended that your initiative and independence should be restricted in any way. Your responsibility to get all the facts firsthand is unchanged. You will get more information if the American Embassy opens doors for you than you can obtain without its support.”

In reply to the letter of April 25, 1949 the Secretary wrote to Senator McCarran on May 5 as follows:

“This will acknowledge and thank you for your letter of April 25, 1949 enclosing a copy of your letter of the same date to Mr. Robert N. Golding, one of the agents of the Joint Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation. In accordance with your suggestion, we are sending copies of your letters to the chiefs of our diplomatic missions in the countries participating in the European Recovery Program.

I am sure that your agents will receive the fullest cooperation from our diplomatic missions. In this connection, the State Department sent instructions last July to the missions in question3 calling their attention to the provisions of Article IX of the Bilateral Agreements respecting courtesies, cooperation, information and facilities to be extended to the Committee and its staff by the governments of the participating countries. In its instruction the Department emphasized the importance of seeing that firm arrangements were made to assure the carrying out of those undertakings. The Department also pointed out that the Committee staff wished to rely on the diplomatic missions for assistance in matters of office space, clerical help, dealing with foreign governments, etc. The instruction accordingly stressed the high importance of all possible cooperation being given to the Committee staff in these regards. In its communication accompanying copies of your letters of April 25, the Department is confirming the above instructions.

With particular reference to those paragraphs of your letter of April 25 to Mr. Golding concerning independent action, I assume that it is not your wish that agents of the Committee interview, or make proposals to, representatives of foreign governments independently of the diplomatic missions. I know that you will appreciate the importance, in the case of interviews of officials of foreign governments, of having a representative of the diplomatic mission present in order to assist in talks and to maintain normal channels of diplomatic communication. Such a procedure is particularly important in connection with the sphere of investigation in which I understand Mr. Golding is interested. This is a matter which involves our national security as well as the most delicate diplomatic relations. If our Government is to achieve success in this field, it is of the utmost importance that the confidential nature of the discussions with the governments of the participating countries be maintained and that any conversations with, or proposals to, foreign officials be in line with the policies and procedures governing our negotiators.

If there is any question that Mr. Golding’s proposed course of action does not conform to the above, I shall greatly appreciate it if you will bring this matter to his attention.”

As indicated in the letter to Senator McCarran, the Department wishes to confirm to the diplomatic missions concerned the general instructions set forth in circular telegram of July 13, 1948 2: 00 a. m., concerning cooperation with the Watchdog Committee.

  1. This airgram was sent to the Embassies in Paris, London, Rome, Brussels, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Lisbon, Athens, The Hague, Oslo, and Ankara; to the Legations in Luxembourg, Dublin, Vienna, Bern, and Reykjavik; and to the United States Political Adviser for Germany at Frankfurt.
  2. Pat McCarran, Democratic Senator from Nevada.
  3. The reference here is to the circular telegram of July 13, 1948, 2 a. m. not printed (840.50 Recovery/7–1348).