No. 666

124.49/2–1551: Telegram

The Ambassador in Czechoslovakia (Briggs) to the Secretary of State 1


519. Information contained Paris telegram February 12, regarding possible Russian project early rupture by Czechoslovakia and Poland first we had heard this matter.2 Regarding Czechoslovakia we would assume decision that character would in fact originate with Kremlin. Most we can state now is that if rupture planned, Czechoslovakia behavior would probably be approximately as it has been recently, for example:

Within past week 3 cabinet ministers plus Secretary General Slovak CP have publicly and bitterly excoriated US (take-off point these flights of oratory West German rearmament).
Considerably increased police surveillance and harassment Embassy and personnel, including harsh police measures against Czech employees in effort obtain information about chancellery and official and private activities all personnel especially Americans (see Emb desps 205 February 8 and 213 February 153).
False charges regarding jet and other US airplane overflights, and of espionage, for which most plausible explanation (Embtel 508 February 104) is that accusations are buildup for some early Czechoslovakian action already decided upon.

  1. Repeated to Moscow, Paris, London, Warsaw, and Frankfurt for HICOG.
  2. Under reference here is telegram 4774 from Paris, February 12, repeated to London, Frankfurt, Moscow, Warsaw, and Praha. It reported that a high French Interior Ministry official had been informed by a reliable source of a Soviet plan of diplomatic action to be pursued in the absence of Western concessions on Germany. The alleged plan provided for the intimidation of France and Britain by vigorous diplomatic pressure on the question of German remilitarization, the denunciation of the military clauses of the satellite peace treaties, a campaign to intimidate the West German Government and people, and the rupture by Poland and Czechoslovakia of diplomatic relations with the West. (640.61/2–1251)
  3. These despatches reported in some detail on the increased surveillance of the Embassy in Praha by the Czechoslovak police and the detention for questioning of Czechoslovak staff members and servants. (124.49/2–851 and 124.49/2–1551) See also telegram 321 to Praha, Document 662.
  4. Document 664.