315.41/11–2250: telegram

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

confidential   niact

866. Mytel 695, October 18. Re UN accreditation of Theodore Doganis: Recently I brought to Department’s attention my views concerning the results which would flow from an application of the provisions of the Internal Security Act of 1950 to persons coming to the UN Headquarters district under the provisions of Section 11 of the Headquarters agreement between the US and the UN.

We are now faced with a serious problem if the provisions of the Internal Security Act are to be applied so as to exclude Theodore Doganis, a correspondent for Telepress, Praha, who has sought accreditation by the UN solely for the present session of the GA.

[Page 79]

Under the provisions of Section 11(3) of the Headquarters agreement the UN accredits correspondents only after consultation with the US Government. Under administrative arrangement with the UN, the US has agreed to furnish whatever comments it may have concerning an accreditation application within 14 days after receipt thereof. In the instant case the accreditation application of Doganis was forwarded to Department for comment on September 28, 1950 and as yet the comments of Department have not been forthcoming for transmission to UN.

The UN has been under pressure to accredit Doganis despite the fact that US has not yet commented concerning his accreditation (mytels 669, October 18, 762, November 3 [1] and 776,1 November 30 [3]). The UN has finally informed us (mytel 821, November 142) that in the absence of objection by the US to the accreditation of Doganis the UN is now proceeding with the preparation of necessary credentials of accreditation. We have been advised confidentially by Secretariat officials that no final action will be taken by the UN with reference to his accreditation until after Wednesday, November 22.

Yesterday in Committee 3 of the GA, the representative of Czechoslovakia requested a statement by the UN Secretary General concerning action taken by the Secretariat with respect to the accreditation application of Doganis in response to a communication to the UN Secretary General from the acting permanent representative Czechoslovakia to the UN dated November 7 (mytel 800, November 92). We have been confidentially informed by Secretariat officials that the UN Secretary General will submit to Committee 3 immediately a memo detailing the facts of the case and stating that the Secretariat is now proceeding with the preparation of credentials of accreditation for Doganis.3

We understand that the delay in forwarding US comments re accreditation Doganis is due to question as to whether case of Doganis is covered by Section 22(1) (3) of the Internal Security Act4 and whether he could be admitted by the exercise of 9th Proviso action. Even assuming that the provisions of the Internal Security Act are applicable, we are unable to understand how Doganis is covered by Section 22(1) (3) and why 9th Proviso action has not been taken. [Page 80] There is no question but that UN Secretary General considers Doganis a bona fide newspaperman as indicated by intention to accredit and that accreditation as bona fide newspaperman is responsibility of Secretary General. The position of the Secretary General is supported by fact that Doganis was previously admitted and served as an accredited correspondent at Lake Success during last GA. He was never to our knowledge charged with activities there in abuse of privileges which would warrant his deportation or exclusion from the US. While Doganis is undoubtedly a member of the Communist Party, so too are representatives of Tass, Pravda, and other publications who have been admitted to the US to cover proceedings at Lake Success. Activities in which he may have engaged abroad in support of Communism but not directed against US Government and under circumstances not restricted as at Lake Success would not appear as sound basis for decision he would engage in prohibited activities when operating at UN Headquarters under restrictions imposed by immigration authorities. This is particularly true in view of his record when previously at Lake Success. In any case, should Doganis abuse his privileges of residence after entering into the US he could always be deported in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the headquarters agreement.

We anticipate serious consequences from the failure to admit Doganis to the US. This would be the first time the US has refused to admit to UN Headquarters district a person who is concededly a bona fide correspondent and covered by Section 11(3) of the Headquarters agreement. We know of no evidence which we could present against Doganis which would make probable a finding in our favor should UN feel obligated to seek arbitration under Section 21 of the Headquarters agreement, concerning the application to Doganis of the provisions of that agreement including the Section 6 reservation. The long delay which has occurred in this matter has already embarrassed us in our relations with Secretariat officials who are obliged as international civil servants to insist that the provisions of the Headquarters agreement be observed by the US. Most important of all, attacks in UN organs such as that in Committee 3 yesterday, which we cannot answer satisfactorily, undermine all our arguments concerning the respect owed to treaty obligations, freedom of information, et cetera.

We hope that a decision can be obtained by this afternoon so that UN will not proceed with the accreditation of Doganis prior to the receipt of US comments.5

Austin
  1. Telegrams 762 and 776 not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.
  4. The concluding paragraph of the Secretariat communication to the Czech delegate read: “The delegate of Czechoslovakia may rest assured that the United Nations is doing everything possible with regard to this matter and will inform him promptly of any further developments.” (telegram 892 from USUN, November 27, 7:48 p. m., File No. 315.41/11–2750)
  5. For this section, see 64 Stat. 1006.
  6. Permission for admission of Doganis was granted by the United States on November 30.