124.495/1–3150: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Czechoslovakia


88. In view recent expulsions US citizens from Czech, tightened Czech visa policy, attitude Czech auths Hvasta case, arrest Neth and Swed businessmen Louwers and Hjelm and other evidences Czech determination diminish contact between westerners and local population, we are in full agreement Dept is confronted with increased difficulty in protection US citizens who enter Czech ur 144 Jan 31.1 We have consequently been warning, and will continue to warn, US citizens who inquire that this Govt can not assure them normal protection if and when they may visit Czech.

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That you suggested Clementis our increasing concern this connection and pointed out our informal steps re inquiring US citizens shld constitute timely intimation to Czech auths, fortified by our action in Vogeler case,2 that if they make attempt against US citizen in Czech as Hun has done it wld provoke counter measures and lead to serious deterioration in relations between two countries.

We feel it may be advisable not to proceed any further in the matter at this time, waiting to see effect of this notice to Czech Govt and reserving such move as restricting validity US passports as possible retaliatory measure if it shld prove necessary in connection with future specific protection case.

While fully recognizing our obligations to US citizens and need for firmness with Czech Govt in their protection we wld not wish to take action which wld eliminate completely form of contact between two countries made possible by visits US citizens until we are clearly forced to do so. We are equally reluctant to go this far until circumstances permit no other course because our initiative might release chain of consequences which wld eventually affect adversely US info activities in Czech.

  1. Supra; regarding the Hvasta, Louwers, and Hjelm cases under reference here, see footnotes 2 and 8 thereto.
  2. Regarding the Vogeler case, see footnote 6, supra.