511.4941/1–2050: Telegram

The Ambassador in Czechoslovakia (Briggs) to the Secretary of State


92. Pass VOANY. Re London telegram to Department 284, January 18,1 Embassy recommends US refrain from associating itself in any way, even indirectly, with statement Executive Commission Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party in exile disavowing Lausmann. Matter should be treated as internal affair Social Democratic Party in exile and handled as straight news.

In considering comments on Lausmann in future in connection any activities in which he may engage, important to remember that while he may be classic example of “puppet whom Kremlin used and cast aside”,2 his experiences since coup in February are in sharp contrast to those of Fierlinger who, rather than Lausmann, is in Czechoslovakian minds typical traitor to his party. Embassy feels therefore that in order not to discourage possible future defectors here, VOA, while using him as example of impossibility of cooperating with Russians and at same time retaining any personal integrity or individual views, should adopt generally sympathetic tone and avoid penalizing him unduly or censuring him publicly for temporary collaboration.3

Repeated Frankfort 6, London 7.

  1. Bohumil Laušman, Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party member of the Czechoslovak Parliament, 1945–1948; Minister of Industry, 1945–1947; and Chairman of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party, 1947–1948, fled from Czechoslovakia at the end of December 1949. The telegram under reference here, not printed, reported that the Executive Committee of the Czechoslovak Social Democratic Party in exile in London had disavowed Laušman for his role in the Communist coup of February 1948. Because of his conduct while Minister of Industry, the Embassy felt that Laušman was particularly undeserving of any aid or comfort from official American sources (749.001/1–1850).
  2. A quotation from the London telegram cited in footnote 1, above.
  3. Telegram 56 to Praha, January 24, not printed, stated that the Department of State shared Embassy Praha’s views. While the Department believed that no obligations should be assumed toward Laušman, particularly those which might be regarded as invidious by refugees with longstanding anti-Communist records, American treatment should not be such as to discourage defections in the future (511.4941/1–2050).