No. 662

124.49/1–451: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Czechoslovakia 2


321. Fully realize effect surveillance Emb must have on local personnel ur staff (Embtel 407, Jan 43) but doubt whether note to Czech auths (Embtel 408, Jan 44) or other means taking official notice Czech action will accomplish withdrawal police.

Such police surveillance, although in more overt forms, has been encountered other capitals and at Moscow police detail both uniformed and secret has been on constant patrol front Emb for more than decade. Consideration given from time to time to maintaining our police guard at Sov Emb. If Czechs shld reply at all proposed note they might claim this matter their own jurisdiction of no concern to us or else might seize upon circumstances as excuse for maintaining regular police patrol in front Emb. Possible they wld not be displeased with intercession as sign measures harassment proving effective and wld be impelled continue or extend their action. If situation altered in any way, Czechs might only turn to less obvious more covert move against Emb.

This has been our position re similar occurrences in past and we still believe best course give no official indication awareness action local auths. It may well be this clumsy police activity will be carried [Page 1339] such absurd lengths as bring in itself some change as encounter Fr Mil Att with police upon leaving Emb (Embtel 417, Jan 65) suggests. Agree ur thought (Embtel 418, Jan 66) more might be accomplished through derisive publicity and appropriate VOA handling, especially view incident involving Fr Mil Att, which being carried VOA along lines indicated reftel 417.

  1. Drafted by Vedeler of EUR/EE and cleared by Estes of EUR.
  2. Telegram 407 reported that since mid-December 1950 the Chancery in Praha had been under almost constant surveillance during office hours by individuals presumed to be members of the Czechoslovak secret police who parked in automobiles near the Chancery entrance. The activity was generally limited to observation, although Czechoslovak members of the Embassy staff were occasionally stopped and required to show identity papers. (124.49/1–451)
  3. Telegram 408 transmitted the text of a draft note to the Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry protesting the activity reported upon in telegram 407 (see footnote 3 above). (124.49/1–451)
  4. Telegram 417 reported that on January 5 the French Military Attaché was stopped by Czechoslovak secret police upon emerging from the U.S. Embassy in Praha. The police refused to acknowledge the Attaché’s identity card and attempted unsuccessfully to force him into a nearby police automobile. (601.5149/1–651)
  5. Not printed.