340/7–2453: Telegram

The United States Representative at the United Nations (Lodge) to the Department of State 1


36. Regarding proposed statement by SYG to ECOSOC on Headquarters Agreement.

SYG and I agreed today on following text for his statement before ECOSOC. This agreement was reached subject to his assurance that if a proposal is made in Council for reference this question to GA, he will strongly oppose it and with understanding on my part that if question is raised with respect arbitration of disagreements under headquarters agreement that SYG is free to express his opinion that arbitration applies to all sections of the agreement.

I consider this is a satisfactory solution and strongly recommend that appropriate instructions be issued to our ECOSOC delegation to support SYG’s statement before ECOSOC. I believe statement by SYG and his general intentions are such that position of US fully [Page 303] safeguarded and I believe further that agreement between SYG and myself is such that we should experience no further serious difficulties.

Progress report by the Secretary General to the Economic and Social Council on negotiations with the United States of America concerning the interpretation of the Headquarters Agreement;

“Although the negotiations with the United States on the interpretation and application of the Headquarters Agreement are not yet concluded, it is appropriate that a brief report be made on the matter to the Economic and Social Council.

It will be recalled that earlier this year the United States, invoking a reservation it claimed to have made in becoming party to the Headquarters Agreement, declined to grant visas for transit to United Nations headquarters to representatives of two non-governmental organizations in consultative relations with the Economic and Social Council. On 9 April 1953, the Council requested a legal opinion on the matter. A memorandum by the legal department (E/2397), issued the next day, concluded that under section 11 of the Headquarters Agreement representatives of non-governmental organizations with consultative status were entitled to transit to and from the headquarters district, and that this right had not been made the subject of any reservation. The Council later included an item on the provisional agenda of its sixteenth session relating to a report on the result of my negotiations with the United States.

Since then, I and my representatives have been carrying on discussions of the problem with the permanent representative of the United States and his staff. It was recognized from the outset that the provisions of the Headquarters Agreement should not be permitted to serve as a cover to enable persons in the United States to engage in activities, outside the scope of their official functions, directed against the security of that country. It was also recognized that under the agreement, and subject to its purposes, the United States can protect its security by granting visas valid only for transit to and from the headquarters district and sojourn in its immediate vicinity, in accordance with section 13(e); the United States also has the authority to make any reasonable definition consistent with the purposes of the agreement of the ‘immediate vicinity’ of the headquarters district, of the necessary routes of transit, and of the time and manner of expiration of the visa following the completion of official functions. As provided in section 13(b), the United States can carry out deportation proceedings under its law and regulations against persons admitted under the Headquarters Agreement who abuse the privileges of residence in activities in the United States outside their official capacity.

In the case of aliens in transit to the headquarters district exclusively on official business of, or before the United Nations, the rights of the United States are limited by the Headquarters Agreement to those mentioned. However, other cases may arise, the treatment of which under the agreement will raise questions. I refer to cases in which there is clear and convincing evidence that a representative of a nongovernmental organization is coming to the United States purportedly for United Nations business but also, or primarily, for a purpose outside the scope of such activities, and where further the competent authorities of the Government of the United States are satisfied that [Page 304] the admission of that person would be prejudicial to the national security of the United States. In the opinion of the United States representatives, such cases are outside the scope of the Headquarters Agreement, and they therefore hold that in such cases the United States Government is entitled to refuse a visa.

The United States representatives have assured me that, if in the future there should arise any serious problem with respect to the application in special cases of provisions concerning access to the headquarters district or sojourn in its vicinity, the matter will receive the most prompt and careful consideration at the highest levels, that timely decisions will be made, and that the United States will consult me and keep me as fully informed as possible, in order to assure that the decision made is in accordance with the rights of the parties concerned.

Also from the United Nations point of view it should be recognized that a person should be excluded from the host country if there is clear and convincing evidence that he intends, in bad faith, to use his trip as a cover for activities against that country’s security. This particular problem may well not have been studied and resolved when the headquarters agreement was drafted. However I would consider it proper for me to accept a method of application of the Headquarters Agreement which is in accordance with the interpretation put forward by the United States representatives only if such method of application had been explicitly authorized by the competent organ.

In giving this account of the negotiations to the Economic and Social Council, I have therefore to report that there is a measure of agreement which may help to remove difficulties over the matter in the future, and I venture to express the hope that any remaining questions will be resolved satisfactorily in the application of the Headquarters Agreement or in further negotiations with representatives of the United States.”

  1. Repeated to Geneva to the U.S. Delegation to ECOSOC on July 27, with the concurrence of USUN.