611.49/4–1550: Telegram

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


547. Considering meeting described immediately preceding telegram1 we see no impelling reason modify recommendations contained Emtel 543, April 15.2 We may hope approach has given Czechoslovakia pause but as of now this is merely hope. Also, our approach and our offer provide any information Czechoslovakia might desire re information program may postpone for few days (rather than eliminate probability of) action against USIS and Kolarek.

If therefore Department agrees with Embassy view that Czechoslovakia has given us already by treatment our local employees provocation to support retaliatory action such as closing Czechoslovak Consulate, we, think that should be done, even though that would doubtless precipitate Czechoslovak action and consequently curtail USIS functions few days earlier than otherwise likely. Advantages (b) and (c) mentioned second paragraph Emtel 543 would remain.

[Page 548]

If on other hand Department prefers wait and see whether Czechoslovakia is prepared mend its ways as result of conversation, then we recommend that all preliminary steps, drafting, et cetera be completed by Department so that as soon as Czechoslovakia demands elimination USIS or declares Kolarek persona non grata we can immediately on same day ourselves take action, including public statement our reason for so doing.

Another retaliatory measure which we believe warranted by Czechoslovak conduct, likely be endorsed by US public opinion, and which Czechoslovakia unquestionably would feel, would be withdrawal invitation participate Chicago Fair.3

Department also reminded that from references by Foreign Minister to coming trial of alleged Czechoslovak associates of Meryn,4 government evidently intends make this “major attraction” and to bring spectacular charges before Czechoslovak public of espionage certainly and probably of other matters. Trial may constitute major propaganda onslaught on US in general and Embassy in particular.

Sent Department 547, repeated London 61, Paris 66, Moscow 28, Department pass Moscow.

  1. Telegram 546, April 15, from Praha, supra.
  2. Not printed. In it Ambassador Briggs observed that the provocative action of the Czechoslovak Government required American retaliatory action. Briggs recommended the closure of the Czechoslovak Consulate in Chicago and the closure of the remaining Czechoslovak Consulates when, as was probable, Czechoslovakia demanded the closing of the American Consulate in Bratislava. (611.49/4–1550)
  3. Regarding the Chicago International Trade Fair, see footnote 5, p. 527.
  4. The reference here is to the Nechanský-Wahl trial; see footnotes 10 and 11, supra.