The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Denmark ( Anderson )


No. 31

The Secretary of State acknowledges the receipt of the Embassy’s despatch No. 464, dated May 4, 1950,1 requesting information regarding Nicholas J. Kyriazidis, a newspaper correspondent formerly accredited to the United Nations.

The delay in responding to this inquiry has been occasioned by the fact that the Department has had under consideration this particular case and attending cases which have just recently been disposed of. There is outlined below in detail for the confidential information of the Officer in Charge the action taken by the Department in these matters.

(1) Case of Nicholas J. Kyriazidis

Nicholas J. Kyriazidis, a Greek national and an admitted Communist, came to the United States in June 1947. Shortly thereafter [Page 57] he was accredited to the United Nations as a correspondent. In December 1947, the Immigration and Naturalization Service sought to deport him on the ground that his accreditation had lapsed because the newspapers to which he had been accredited had been suppressed by the Greek Government, It appeared, however, that Kyriazidis had obtained accreditation for a paper in Cyprus and after consultation with the Secretary General, Kyriazidis was released. Later, when the consultation procedure contemplated by the United Nations Headquarters Agreement was put into effect, Kyriazidis filed a new application for accreditation as a correspondent for the Cyprus newspaper Demokratis as well as the London Daily Worker. In commenting on this application, the United States did not object to the accreditation, but the United Nations was advised that if the subject were accredited it might be necessary for the United States to pursue deportation proceedings, restrict the subject to the headquarters area and its immediate vicinity, or take other action consistent with the terms of the Headquarters Agreement. The United Nations accredited Kyriazidis on March 1, 1948. The United States Government made the same comment with regard to Kyriazidis subsequent applications for reaccreditation and on August 17, 1949, Kyriazidis was, in fact, restricted in travel to the limits of New York City and Long Island.

Prior to the expiration of his accreditation period on February 26, 1950, the Department of State received a report on Kyriazidis from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On the basis of this report, the Immigration and Naturalization Service informally indicated to the Department that it would like to have the individual deported and for that reason would like to see Kyriazidis’ accreditation discontinued. Since the primary responsibility for the internal security of the United States rests with the Department of Justice, no final determination could be made without consultation with the Attorney General. The Department, therefore, instituted such proceedings with the Attorney General to determine whether Kyriazidis represented a serious threat to the security of the United States and to determine the importance of the security factor in the case as compared with the political problems which would be raised by action against Kyriazidis. The gravity with which the Department viewed this case was based both on the desire to see that no undue risk was taken by the United States with its security and the desire to assure that this Government acts at all times in consistency with the position that it has taken on the free flow of information and its obligations as host to the United Nations. It had very much in mind that the Secretary General might accredit a correspondent over the objection of the United States and that a proper regard for the responsibilities of the Secretary General made it imperative that the Department ask him to accede to objections [Page 58] of the United States only when they were well founded on grounds which could be accepted by him as an international official.

Because a comment from the United States was due, the Department instructed the United States Mission to the United Nations to transmit to the Secretariat the following comment:

“Pending further consideration, this Government withholds objection to the accreditation of Mr. Kyriazidis. This Government may, however, find it necessary in the near future to object to any continuation of this individual’s accreditation, or to pursue deportation proceedings or take other action consistent with the terms of the Headquarters Agreement as brought into effect by the exchange of notes between the United States and the United Nations on November 21, 1947.

“If the United Nations decides to re-accredit Mr. Kyriazidis at this time, you may wish to consider, in the light of the above, the advisability of accrediting the individual for a short period only, perhaps for sixty days or three months.”

In accordance with the suggestion contained in this comment, the United Nations extended the accreditation of Mr. Kyriazidis for a period of three months only, i.e., from February 26, until May 27, 1950.

Consultation proceedings with the Attorney General were not completed at the expiration of this last accreditation period and, consequently, it was extended further by the United Nations for a period of two weeks, June 2–19, 1950, at the suggestion of the Department.

At a special general meeting on March 7, 1950, the United Nations Correspondents Association protested the three months’ extension of Kyriazidis’ accreditation period rather than for the usual period of a full year, and because no formal charges had been brought against him, the Association, in a resolution, requested the Secretary General to extend the credentials of Kyriazidis for the full one-year period and asked that consultation be had with the Executive Committee of the Association in all future cases where exceptions to prevailing practice of accrediting correspondents was made.

In considering the evidence which had been presented against Kyriazidis, the Department noted that there were no grounds for questioning his bona fides as a correspondent. Any grounds for action, therefore, had to be based on activities “outside his official capacity.” It was not necessary, of course, for these activities to constitute a violation of the laws of the United States. As a result of the evaluation of the evidence contained in the Federal Bureau of Investigation report, the Departments of State and Justice arrived at the conclusion that Kyriazidis had, in fact, abused his privileges of residence by engaging in certain activities above and ‘beyond those of his official activities [Page 59] as an accredited United Nations correspondent, and that foreign policy considerations did not outweigh the security risk involved. It was, therefore, determined that this Government should not approve his further re-accreditation by the United Nations.

Pursuant to Departmental instructions, the Mission advised the United Nations Secretariat, on June 19, 1950, that this Government was of the opinion that Mr. Kyriazidis should not be re-accredited by the United Nations since it was in possession of evidence that he had abused his privileges of residence in activities in this country outside his capacity as an accredited United Nations correspondent, and that its objection was not based on any political beliefs of the subject or those of the newspapers which he represented. It was made clear that this Government would, of course, consult with the United Nations with regard to an application for accreditation by the United Nations of another bona fide representative chosen by these newspapers. In reply to an inquiry from the United Nations Secretariat requesting information concerning the nature of the abuse of privileges of residence by Kyriazidis, the United Nations Secretariat was informed that this Government was prepared to communicate to the Secretary General of the United Nations, informally and for his confidential information, a statement of the substance of its information concerning the activities which constituted an abuse of privileges of residence. An appointment with the Secretary General was requested for this purpose but prior to the granting of such appointment Nicholas J. Kyriazidis departed from this country voluntarily on August 1, 1950. Further proceedings in the matter were, therefore, abated and his accreditation as a correspondent was cancelled by the United Nations on August 1, 1950.

(2) Admission of Families of Accredited Representatives of the Press and Other Media of Information

It is clear that Section 11 of the Headquarters Agreement does not confer, and was not intended to confer, any privileges with respect to entry into the United States of members of the families of representatives of the press and other media of information accredited by the United Nations. The absence of privileges for these families is probably due to the fact that at the time the Agreement was concluded, it was generally envisaged that representatives of the press and other media of information would be resident at the United Nations headquarters for comparatively short periods of time. While the practice which has arisen since that time has shown that such representatives are frequently at the United Nations headquarters for periods of one year or longer, the fact remains that the Executive Branch of the [Page 60] Government has no authority by administrative action or interpretation to increase the scope, or otherwise to alter the meaning, of the provisions of the Headquarters Agreement beyond their purport, as approved by the Congress of the United States.

There has been no difficulty in those cases where the families and more specifically the wives of these representatives were admissible to the United States under the United States immigration laws quite apart from the Headquarters Agreement. The difficulty arises in the cases of family members who, under the immigration laws, are not admissible because of present or past political beliefs or present or past membership or activity in or association with certain political organizations.

This problem was the subject of an inquiry and a resolution of the United Nations Correspondents Association in November, 1949, wherein the Association called upon the Secretary General of the United Nations “… to use every effort to secure from the United States Government an administrative interpretation of the Headquarters Agreement, which, in accord with its spirit and intent, will ensure that families may accompany or join correspondents during their assignment at UN headquarters.” At a special general meeting on March 7, 1950, the Association approved a subsequent resolution urging “… revision of the Headquarters Agreement and parallel agreements with other governments to afford protection to correspondents’ families and free access or entry to the permanent United Nations Headquarters and other areas where the United Nations and its agencies function on the same terms as bona fide correspondents.” In May of 1950, this matter was also the subject of a resolution by the United Nations Sub-Commission on Freedom of Information and of the Press when at its fourth session in Montevideo it noted the absence of any provision aimed at facilitating the entry of wives and families of accredited news personnel and found that this could hinder the work of news personnel through hardship and the disruption of families. The Sub-Commission in its resolution drew the attention of the Economic and Social Council to this situation with the recommendation that the Council take such action as it might consider necessary under the circumstances.

On April 6, 1950, the Department received an Aide-Mémoire from the United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Legal Affairs formally requesting that an appropriate amendment to Section 11 of the Headquarters Agreement be made or that consideration be given to the advisability of this Government entering into a supplemental agreement with the United Nations, which would extend the privileges granted to families of representatives of Members and of [Page 61] officials of the United Nations under Section 11(1) to those of representatives of the press, or of radio, film, or other information agencies accredited by the United Nations. In considering this request, the Department determined, despite its appreciation of the problem and its sympathetic attitude thereto, that: (1) This was not a subject of sufficient importance to warrant re-opening of the Headquarters Agreement; (2) It would not be advisable to request Congressional approval of an amendment to the Headquarters Agreement at this time since it would subject the Agreement to scrutiny and possible change; and (3) This was not the type of problem which could be resolved by a supplemental agreement without Congressional approval.

Since the only alternative solution of this problem would involve exercise of discretion by the Attorney General under the Ninth Proviso of Section 3 of the Act of February 5, 1917, (39 Stat. 878) (8 U.S.C. 136),2 it was necessary for the Department to consult with the Department of Justice to see whether the Attorney General would treat sympathetically recommendations of the Department of State in this regard. On June 15, 1950, a representative of the State Department conferred with a representative of the Department of Justice and sought the agreement of the Attorney General to admit under the Ninth Proviso the inadmissible family members where there was no adverse evidence against the persons other than that they were Communists. The Department of Justice representative stated that the Attorney General was not prepared to give a blanket advance commitment to admit all such family members, but would have to insist on case by case consideration. It was added, however, that if the Department of State recommended the admission of such a family member as in the national interest from the point of view of the foreign relations of the United States, the Department could be certain of the most sympathetic consideration. Accordingly, the United States Mission to the United Nations, pursuant to Departmental instructions, advised the Secretary General as follows on July 10, 1950:

“The United States Government will give careful and sympathetic consideration, in the light of the facts of each particular case, to applications by persons who apply to enter the United States simply to accompany the head of the family who is an accredited United [Page 62] Nations correspondent* admitted to the United States under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement.”

It is believed that while the Secretary General may have preferred a supplemental agreement, the procedure established will be acceptable in practice since the Department is prepared to recommend Ninth Proviso action in any case in which it appears that the admission of the individual would not create a serious threat to the national security and since the sympathetic consideration of the Attorney General is anticipated in each instance. Also, it is felt that there will be only a handful of cases wherein the Department will necessarily request Ninth Proviso action since it is to be noted that, as a rule, the cases in question do not involve the admission of nationals of the Iron Curtain countries. In those countries, the press is run by the Government and press representatives and their families come to the United States as foreign government officials. The Department is concerned, therefore, in general only with a very few cases of inadmissible family members from non-Iron Curtain countries. To date there has been but one case in which the Department had under consideration recommendation of Ninth Proviso action for an inadmissible family member—that of Mrs. Nicholas J. Kyriazidis, wife of an accredited United Nations correspondent, which is discussed below.

If at some future date negotiations are begun between the United Nations and the United States for other amendments to the Headquarters Agreement, the United States will at that time reconsider the need for amendment with regard to this subject.

(3) Case of Domna Kyriazidis (Mrs. Nicholas J. Kyriazidis)

On January 8, 1948 the Embassy in Athens denied a 3(2) temporary visitors visa to Domna Kyriazidis, a Greek national and the wife of Nicholas J. Kyriazidis, who was a correspondent accredited by the United Nations. The applicant had applied for this visa ostensibly for the purpose of joining her husband at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Denial of the visa was based on the fact that the subject was inadmissible under the provisions of the Act of October 16, 1918,3 as amended, since evidence existed which indicated she was a member of the Greek Communist Party or sympathetic to its principles and that she had engaged in activities on behalf of that Party. Additionally, her husband, an admitted Communist, was at that time representing as foreign correspondent two Greek Communist newspapers which had recently been banned by [Page 63] the Government of Greece for subversion and treason. As noted in the discussion above under item (2), the applicant had no privileges of entry as a member of the family of an accredited correspondent to the United Nations, and consequently she was subject to qualification in all respects to existing immigration laws and regulations.

In October of 1949 the Department received a request for an advisory opinion from the Embassy in Paris, where Domna Kyriazidis had again applied for a 3(2) visa. At the time the Department received this request, it had under consideration the case of her husband, Nicholas J. Kyriazidis, against whom information had been received indicating his abuse of privileges of residence in this country. Consultation proceedings had also been instituted by the State Department with the Department of Justice in order to determine whether or not this Government should approve any further extension of his accreditation as a correspondent by the United Nations. Coincidentally, at this same time the Department was discussing with the Department of Justice the general subject of requesting Ninth Proviso action for inadmissible family members of representatives of the press and other information media and this case, therefore, became the first such case to arise in this connection. While Mrs. Kyriazidis was alleged to be a Communist, there was no evidence which indicated that her admission to this country would seriously prejudice the national security. Accordingly, the Department had under consideration Ninth Proviso action by the Attorney General on her behalf. Before a recommendation to this effect was made by the Department, however, a decision was reached in the case of her husband and it was determined that this Government would disapprove any further extension of his accreditation as a correspondent by the United Nations. This action coupled with the voluntary departure from this country of Nicholas J. Kyriazidis on August 1, 1950, obviated the necessity for any further consideration of the case of Mrs. Kyriazidis.

[Here follows brief comment relating to the settling of the specifically Danish questions originally set forth by the Embassy in Denmark in its despatch 464 of May 4, 1950.]

  1. Not printed.
  2. The Act of February 5, 1917, was captioned “An Act To regulate the immigration of aliens to, and the residence of aliens in, the United States.” (39 Stat. 874). There were 10 “provisos” to Section 3 of the Act (39 Stat. 877, 878). The ninth of these recitals provided inter alia “That the Commissioner General of Immigration with the approval of the Secretary of Labor shall issue rules and prescribe conditions, including exaction of such bonds as may be necessary, to control and regulate the admission and return of otherwise inadmissible aliens applying for temporary admission” (39 Stat. 878).
  3. While the word “correspondent” is used, it is meant to embrace not only representatives of the press, but representatives of radio, film, or other information agencies. [Footnote in the source text.]
  4. 40 Stat 1012. This statute was captioned “An Act To exclude and expel from the United States aliens who are members of the anarchistic and similar classes.”