Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Eastern European Affairs ( Yost ) and Mr. Jesse MacKnight, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations ( Brown )


Subject: Action on Czechoslovak “Peace” Resolution.

On April 27, 1950 the Czechoslovak Ambassador called at his request on the Under Secretary of State to present a note enclosing copies for forwarding to both Houses of Congress of a Resolution adopted by the Czechoslovak National Assembly on February 22.1

The Resolution accuses the “imperialist powers”—led by the United States and Great Britain—of pursuing a policy of aggression and threatening world peace in a “desparate” attempt to save the “crumbling capitalist order” and destroy “true democracy”, in contrast to the Soviet Union which leads the “camp of peace and progress”. It “demands”, among others, the cessation of “imperialist production” of arms and calls upon “all parliaments of the world” to take a stand against war preparations and to support the “world peace movement.”

Its other five demands are for: 1) prohibition of production and use of atomic and other weapons of mass destruction, 2) cessation of the “unjust” wars in Viet Nam, Malaya, and elsewhere, 3) an end to the revival of nazism and fascism and the policy of turning Western Germany into an “imperialist war base”, 4) an end to the persecution of “fighters for peace” in capitalist colonial and semi-colonial countries, and 5) the conclusion of a Great Powers “peace pact” within the framework of the United Nations.

The Resolution constitutes an integral part of the Soviet-Communist “peace” campaign sponsored by the World Congress of the Partisans [Page 310] of Peace. This so-called “peace” campaign serves as a propaganda cover and a pivot for all Communist and fellow-traveler activities ranging from so-called “peace” demonstrations in Western Europe to armed conflict in Indochina. The World Partisans of Peace Movement, founded in April 1949 in Paris, is staffed by Communist and fellow-traveler officials, with Frederic Joliot-Curie as President. The movement has undertaken what it calls “concrete” actions, the most important of which are (1) the formation of “peace” committees to prevent the unloading of MDAP equipment,2 and (2) a world-wide campaign to support Soviet proposals in the UN on disarmament and the atomic bomb. Its methods have included the collection of petitions for presentation to the parliaments of the world; the dispatch of international delegations to various countries to present Soviet proposals (the delegation to the United States headed by Picasso was denied visas3); the convocation of world peace Congresses; and the formal peace proposals by Communist governments to the Western legislatures. Currently, its chief propaganda tactic in preparation for its next Congress is a world-wide collection of millions of signatures in support of two slogans with popular appeal: (a) the prohibition of the atomic bomb as a weapon of aggression and mass extermination; and (b) the denunciation of the Government which first uses it as a war criminal.

It is believed that for the Department to transmit officially copies of the Resolution to Congress, as requested by the Czechoslovak note, with a view to action thereon would play into Communist hands by lending an undesirable dignity to the document and indicating that we attach importance to it.

It is recognized of course that if the Resolution is not received by Congress, the Communists may attempt to exploit this for their own propaganda purposes by claiming that the United States Government refuses to consider peace proposals. Any such charges might be countered by making clear in Congressional comment and through our overseas information program that: 1) Our return of the Resolution does not indicate an unwillingness to consider earnestly the genuine efforts to achieve international peace and amity; 2) it does indicate an unwillingness to be party to a Communist propaganda move which seeks to mislead and confuse the peoples of the world. The positive approach of the United States to the peaceful solution [Page 311] of international problems might well be contrasted in this connection to the Soviet record of obstruction.4

  1. The text of Czechoslovak Ambassador Vladimir Outrata’s note of April 27 to the Secretary of State is not printed. During a brief interview with Ambassador Outrata at the time of the delivery of the note, Under Secretary of State James E. Webb observed that he found it difficult to reconcile the protestations in regard to peace contained in the Czechoslovak Resolution with the action of the Czechoslovak Government in engaging in violent anti-American propaganda, in closing down American information offices in Czechoslovakia, and in endeavoring to cut off contacts between Czechoslovakia and the United States (memorandum of conversation by Yost, April 27, 1950: 649.001/4–2750). In a statement issued to the press on April 27, the Department of State took note of the Czechoslovak Resolution of February 22. The statement pointed out that recent actions by the Czechoslovak Government in contravention of accepted standards of international relations served to promote international tension rather than peace and underscored an apparent fear of friendly contacts and free exchange of ideas between peoples (Department of State Bulletin, May 8, 1950, p. 738).

    For documentation on the continued deterioration of relations with the Czechoslovak Government, see pp. 526 ff.

  2. Regarding the attempts to prevent the unloading of MDAP equipment in Western European ports, see telegrams 373, January 23, from London; 900, February 16, from London; and 955, March 2, to London, pp. 264, 269, and 272.
  3. Regarding the denial of visas to a delegation representing the World Congress of Partisans of Peace in early March, see the editorial note, p. 273.
  4. In a memorandum of May 22, not printed, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations, Ben H. Brown, Jr., replied to the memorandum printed here as follows:

    “This office has contacted the leaders of the House and the Senate and the Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs Committees, from both parties, and they have unanimously agreed that the action proposed by the Department is the proper way of handling the note.” (649.001/5–1550)

    In a note of May 24 to Czechoslovak Ambassador Outrata, Acting Secretary of State Webb replied to the Czechoslovak note of April 27 (see footnote 1, above). Acting Secretary Webb’s note referred to the offensive and baseless references to the United States contained in the Resolution of the Czechoslovak National Assembly and indicated that the Resolution, far from making: a contribution to peace, increased the difficulty of developing international amity. The note therefore returned the copies of the Resolution as unacceptable. The text of Acting Secretary Webb’s note of May 24 was released to the press: that same day together with an explanatory statement which closely followed, the first four paragraphs of the memorandum printed here; see the Department of State Bulletin, June 19, 1950, p. 1019.