No. 678

611.49/5–2451: Telegram

The Ambassador in Czechoslovakia (Briggs) to the Office of the United States High Commissioner for Germany, at Frankfurt1


214. Seems important know who’s kidding whom and in particular that at this stage US-Czecho relations Amers don’t kid each other. This observation with ref Heidelberg’s nr 9 to Prague (nr 48 to Dept).2

When Vice Min Sekaninova gave me Czech note May 21 I observed my govt of course does not condone border violations and that, although on face of it incident described seemed relatively unimportant nevertheless Emb wld immed seek clarification.

I told her that when FonMin Siroky first spoke of incident during conversation on May 16, I assured him prompt investigation and accordingly on same day Emb reported matter by tel even though FonMin had not been able supply such detail as exact place incident had allegedly occurred.

Heidelberg’s nr 9 confirms Emb’s belief incident lacks importance from our point of view (rpt from US point of view) but fails eradicate conclusion serious carelessness perhaps involved on part [Page 1364] US frontier personnel. Siroky told me for example that there are not only border markers at crossing point but also frontier gate around which vehicles had deliberately been driven. Even without gate, our border personnel ought to know exactly (not approx) where frontier runs. In present temper, Czechs might well have fired on and wiped out entire US patrol. That may have been in Siroky’s mind when he referred “forebearance” Czecho personnel and he implied that next time forebearance likely not forthcoming.

  1. Repeated to the Department as 748, which is the source text.
  2. This telegram reported that a complete investigation by U.S. Seventh Army authorities of an inadvertent crossing of the Czechoslovak frontier by U.S. Constabulary soldiers on May 4 indicated that the latter were unaware they had crossed into Czechoslovak territory. (749.00/5–2351) Regarding the incident and the Czechoslovak protest of May 21, see Document 675.