No. 677


Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Perkins) to the Secretary of State 1

top secret

Subject: Agrément for a new Czechoslovak Ambassador


Since May 4 when the Czechoslovak Chargé here presented a note requesting an agrément for Dr. Vladimir Prochazka as Ambassador to the US to replace Dr. Vladimir Outrata,2 the Department has given consideration to this matter in relation to the arrest of Oatis. We have reached the conclusion that an agrément should be granted regardless of the Oatis case. We doubt that its denial would exert influence in favor of Oatis’ release. In any event, experience shows this is neither an effective nor appropriate means of exerting pressure on another government particularly such as the present Czechoslovak Government and, in the long run, creates as much or more difficulty for us than for the other government concerned. Lest the Czechs infer from receiving an agrément as a matter of course that little importance is attached to the release of Oatis, the Department is planning to announce its first retaliatory action at the same time as the Czechs are informed of the granting of the agrément. This counter-measure will consist of a prohibition on the travel of non-official US citizens to Czechoslovakia and the request for the immediate departure of those already there.3

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That you sign the attached letter recommending to the President an agrément for Dr. Prochazka. You may also care to bring informally to the President’s attention the foregoing information concerning the action planned to accompany our granting of the agrément.4

  1. Drafted by Vedeler of EUR/EE.
  2. Regarding this note, see telegram 570, Document 673.
  3. Regarding the action invalidating American passports to Czechoslovakia, see Document 682.
  4. At his meeting with President Truman on May 28 to consider important foreign policy problems, Secretary Acheson took up the matter of an agrément for a new Czechoslovak Ambassador. According to his brief memorandum, the Secretary showed the President his formal letter to the President requesting an agrément for Vladimír Procházka as the new Czechoslovak Ambassador and also presented to the President the suggested procedure contained in the memorandum printed here. The President indicated his approval on the Secretary’s letter to him. (Memorandum of conversation by the Secretary, May 28, Secretary’s Memoranda, lot 53D444; letter from the Secretary to the President, May 28, 601.4911/5–2851)