L/UNA Files

Memorandum Prepared in the Department of State1


1. It has not been in the past the position of the Department and is not a reasonable construction of the Headquarters Agreement that a person who has qualified under section 11 of the Headquarters Agreement can lose such privileged status on the sole ground that he is engaged in an activity which is not performed strictly in his official capacity.

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Telegram of April 6, 1950 to Prague discussed possibilities of retaliating against Czech correspondents in US. Referring to Srych, who it appears had an accredited status under section 11(3), it was pointed out that he could be restricted to the Headquarters Area but that such action would not interfere with his freedom to report on developments in UN or New York.
The Rapporteur of the subcommittee of the Sixth Committee of the Second General Assembly summarized the view of the subcommittee on section (b) as follows:

“The provisions of section 13(b) and (c) fall, however, into a different category. They deal with a matter which had not been dealt with in detail either in the draft agreement or in the General Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations Organization. These provisions give the right to the Government of the United States to require an official of the United Nations Organization or the representative of a Member Government or a member of a representative’s staff to leave the territory of the United States in the case of abuses or of serious infractions committed in the united States in matters outside his official duties. This right of the United States Government is surrounded by a number of safeguards and, in particular, where the individual concerned possesses diplomatic immunity, it is specified that he shall not be required to leave the United States ‘otherwise than in accordance with the customary procedure applicable to diplomatic envoys accredited to the United States.’”

The Sixth Committee unanimously approved this report. (UN Doc. A/C.6/172,2d Gen Ass., 1947, underscoring supplied.2)
It will be noted that the assumption is made that a correspondent will be involved “in matters outside his official duties” and that to revoke protection there must be “abuses” or “serious infractions” in such matters.
The Congress apparently shared in the view that one must look for an abuse of privileges in activities outside official capacity and does not find an abuse of privileges by activities outside official capacity:

“… Two important protections are, however, provided in section 13: (1) the United States may require such persons to have visas and may limit the visas which it issues so as to be valid only for transit to the headquarters district and sojourn in its immediate vicinity; (2) in case any such persons abuse their privileges in activities outside their official capacity, they become subject to deportation.” (Senate Report 559, Committee on Foreign Relations, 80th Congress, 1st session, July 15, 1947, p. 6)

2. As used in 13(b), abuse of privilege in activities outside an accredited correspondent’s official capacity must at least involve an activity which would of itself constitute sufficient grounds for deportation, such as violiation of the espionage laws.

(a) Judge Charles Fahy, then Legal Adviser of the Department and an official who was most active in negotiation of the Headquarters [Page 75] Agreement,3 was asked in his appearance, Wednesday, July 9, 1947 before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs which was considering US adherence to the Headquarters Agreement, about the meaning of section 13.

Mr. Fahy said:

“… The deportation laws take hold, if he abuses his privilege. It is a question of the way in which you administer statutes.

“There is a provision here that the proceedings shall not be instituted without the approval of the Secretary of State, which has to do with the administration of the laws in connection with the United Nations.

“However, the law regarding the right of aliens to remain takes hold of anyone who comes in under section 11 if he runs in conflict with our statutes.” (Underscoring supplied.4 Quoted from Mr. Stokes’ corrected copy of transcript of July 19, 1947, Subcommittee 6, Committee on Foreign Affairs, p. 67).

  1. Probably in the Division of International Administration, possibly in the Office of the Assistant Legal Adviser for United Nations Affairs.
  2. Printed here as italics.
  3. For documentation regarding the negotiating history of the Headquarters Agreement, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. i, pp. 60 ff., and ibid., 1947, vol. i, pp. 22 ff.
  4. Printed here as italics.