No. 683

249.1111–Oatis, William/6–1651: Telegram

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


814. Replying my renewed representations Oatis case yesterday FonMin Siroky sought justify his failure last month discuss matter further with me, as well as delay in trial, by citing misrepresentation our May 16 meeting by American news media. What was use he asked our talking further case when our first interview had been so distorted? He declared that as result those “false versions”, FonOff had washed hands of case and normal judicial procedure was taking its course, except that FonOff had generously intervened to facilitate correspondence via Embassy between Oatis and wife.

Fairly heated argument ensued during which I restated contents my May 23 note (Embtel 744)1 and FonMin retorted in effect that irresponsible US press and radio had already cost Oatis one month. He then stated preparations for trial now almost complete and it would be held “within a few days” Emb to be informed beforehand of exact date, and arrangements made in accordance our request for Emb official to attend.

Siroky reminded me his statement May 16 that Oatis has made “full confession”; also that Oatis guilty “serious crimes against Czech state.”

That Czecho will in fact produce confession and that Oatis at trial will endorse it is now probably foregone conclusion. Possibility shld not be ignored (Embtel 757 May 272) that govt may likewise succeed presenting Oatis as defectee as well as confessed and penitent sinner.

  1. Document 676.
  2. Not printed.