124.493/5–650: Telegram

The Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Perkins) to the Acting Secretary of State 1


2480. From Perkins. Replying Deptel 20252 on Czech request that we reduce our Praha mission staff by two-thirds, have consulted with British and French on staff level with following results:

As basis for this and similar tripartite action in future, it was agreed that (a) we should notify and whenever possible consult each other in dealing with this type of question (b) our general basic objectives are the same (c) action to be taken by each country when confronted with such a situation should conform to (a) and (b) above although both British and French believe that special circumstances such as coincidental negotiation of commercial agreements, non-existence of Consulates in their countries or other factors might require them to act differently from us.
Conferees all thought second alternative in reftel would be desirable after first two introductory paragraphs in which we affirm principle that each country is judge as to proper size of its diplomatic staffs. All were clear that we should not at present inform Czechs as to how much we were planning to reduce staff or when, this to occur in our own good time. This calculated to offer best means of quieting issue which would not be case if we closed one or more of their Consulates. Latter action always open to us if Czechs pursue matter further.

UK Foreign Office has agreed to above. Opinion of French Foreign Office unavailable until May 8.3 I suggest we proceed along above lines.

In answer to last paragraph reftel, I regard visit of Ambassador Briggs to London unnecessary at present.

Sent Department 2480, repeated Praha 39, Paris 778.

  1. This telegram was sent through the facilities of the Embassy in London. Secretary of State Acheson departed for Europe on May 6.
  2. Supra.
  3. Telegram 2518, May 9, from London, not printed, reported that the French Foreign Ministry fully agreed with the position outlined in the telegram printed here (124.493/5–950).