761.5211 Gubichev, Valentin A./3–950: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations (Austin) to the Secretary of State


232. This morning Judge Ryan sentenced Valentine Gubitchev to terms of five and ten years on counts one and three respectively of indictment, the terms to be served consecutively. However, on basis of statement made by government attorney re attitude of US Attorney General and Secretary of State in this matter, Judge Ryan stated that he would suspend sentence when and if arrangements are made for departure within two weeks of Gubitchev from US.

Statement by government attorney understood to be that Attorney General and Secretary of State had consulted concerning this matter and that it was recommendation of latter, which Attorney General requested court to consider, that interest of US would be served by a suspension of any sentence imposed upon Gubitchev upon arrangements being made for his departure within two weeks never to return. Statement added that such a recommendation was not to be considered as a recognition of any claim of diplomatic immunity. Judge Ryan said that it was not within his province to question the wisdom or reasons for such a recommendation and that accordingly he would acquiesce therein.1

Prior to imposition sentence, Gubitchev read statement in Russian which was then translated by interpreter, Victor de Guinzbourg, UN employee made available through USUN at request government attorney. De Guinzbourg advised USUN that statement was brought to court this morning by Yuri Novikov, Attaché, Soviet Embassy, and [Page 805] that Gubitchev apparently had not seen it before. Statement attacked arrest and trial of Gubitchev as violation international and domestic law, reiterated claim to diplomatic status and denied unlawful activity. Full text being forwarded Department.

In imposing sentence, Judge Ryan pointed out to Gubitchev fairness of trial, fact that he had counsel of his own choosing and that representatives of his Embassy were at his side throughout proceedings. He stated that Gubitchev had not only violated the law of the US but also his secretariat oath and had betrayed the cause of peace. At this statement Gubitchev appeared to smile and Judge Ryan spoke bitterly of his arrogance.

Coplon was sentenced to five years on count one and fifteen years on count four of the indictment. Sentences are to be served concurrently but not concurrently with those imposed in Washington trial. Bail pending appeal was denied.

Prior to sentencing, attorneys for both defendants made motions for judgment of acquittal, arrest of judgment and new trial. All motions were denied.

  1. The Secretary of State set forth in a memorandum of March 9, not printed, that he had had a conversation with President Truman during which he referred to conversations between the Departments of State and Justice which had resulted in the proposed suspension of sentence for Gubichev which the trial judge had announced on this day. The Secretary suggested that he intended to talk with Ambassador Panyushkin and inform him of this and that no fine would be imposed when arrangements were made for Gubichev to leave the country. “The President said that he had already approved this course in conversation with the Attorney General and directed me to proceed with the matter.” (761.5211/3–950)

    Secretary Acheson did call in Ambassador Panyushkin on March 10 and informed him “officially of the outcome of the trial of Mr. Gubitchev.” He further declared that immediately upon the conclusion of the trial “I had again taken the matter up with the law officers of the government, as a result of which the Attorney General and I had been able to recommend to the court the action which the court had taken.” (761.5211 Gubichev, Valentin A./3–1050)

    For the text of a statement released on March 9, concerning the recommendation made for the deportation of Gubichev, see Department of State Bulletin, March 20, 1950, p. 445.