Memorandum by the United States Representative at the United Nations (Lodge)1

  • Subject:
  • Access by Aliens to the Headquarters of the United Nations—Related Problems—Working Paper for Discussion Purposes.

I carefully considered the helpful draft position paper dated May 4, 1953,2 prepared by the Departments of State and Justice, setting forth [Page 279] the basis for the withholding of visas from two aliens seeking access to the United Nations Headquarters District ostensibly on official United Nations business. Subsequently I discussed the problem with Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold.

The Secretary General’s position as stated to me is as follows:

“It is my understanding that the principle which should govern all classes of persons coming into the Headquarters on United Nations business is that no solution will ever be practical and lasting if it does not take into account both the necessity of the right of access being free from determination by any single government and the necessity that the security of the country where the Headquarters is established should not be endangered.”

Mr. Hammarskjold is prepared to agree with the essential point in our position, viz., that the United States has the right to take the steps necessary to safeguard its security. He has at the same time, however, made it perfectly clear that he cannot accept the interpretation of Section 6 of the Joint Resolution (PL 357—80th Congress) set forth in the position paper. He relies heavily on the 1947 Senate and House reports concerning that Resolution to support his contention (a) that the Congress never intended that Section 6 have the meaning we presently attribute to it, and (b) that such an interpretation was never made known to the 1947 General Assembly. My own reading of these reports and of the General Assembly records leads me to the conclusion that, if this matter goes to the General Assembly as it will if we force this issue, a persuasive case can be made in support of the Secretary-General’s position. I, therefore, recommend that we not force the issue, particularly in view of the extent to which Mr. Hammarskjold appears prepared to go along with us as a practical matter, apart from the legal interpretation of the Section 6 reservation.3

Since Mr. Hammarskjold, within the limitations indicated, is prepared to agree to practical steps aimed at protecting the security of the United States against persons seeking access to the Headquarters District ostensibly on official United Nations business, I recommend a policy along the lines indicated below. This policy, I believe, is basically consistent with the draft position paper.

1. Denial of admission to the United States to persons covered by Section 11 of the Headquarters Agreement and whose admission threatens United States security.

A. Principles which should govern.

In a limited number of cases the United States will wish to prevent the entry of an individual to the United States because of clear evidence that his admission is an active threat to United States security [Page 280] or that he is not actually coming to the United States primarily on United Nations business.

As is rightly indicated in the position paper, admission should be denied to persons covered by Section 11 of the Headquarters Agreement only in cases in which there is clear and convincing evidence that such persons are coming to this country for a purpose not required by United Nations business and which, in the opinion of the United States is undesirable or may even threaten its security. Mr. Hammarskjold, I am certain, will agree to this position provided that he is offered an opportunity to participate in the determination that the persons in question are coming for a purpose not directly connected with United Nations business. I believe he will agree, on the other hand, that a determination that the purpose in question is undesirable or constitutes a threat to United States security is wholly for the United States itself to make, provided I can be supplied enough information to satisfy myself and thus assure him that clear and convincing evidence does exist—information which I have been extremely unsuccessful in getting so far.

B. Application of Principles.

The application of these principles will vary somewhat with the class of persons involved.

(1) Secretariat and Specialized Agency Employees, Accredited Correspondents and Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations.

In the case of persons falling within these classes, I suggest that the United States ought to be prepared to show to the Secretary-General, for his confidential information, the evidence in its possession indicating that the persons in question are coming to this country for a purpose not directly connected with United Nations business. If the evidence is clear and convincing, as it obviously would be, I feel certain that Mr. Hammarskjold will raise no question as to the denial of admission.

(2) Governmental Representatives.

In cases of this type, the Secretary-General has made it clear that he does not wish to be placed in a position between the United States and the Government concerned. In such cases, I suggest that the United States deal directly with the Governments involved, just as has been done in the past, and simply notify the Secretary-General of such negotiations.

(3) Official Invitees of the United Nations.

There is not much likelihood of major problems in this field if the United States representatives in the United Nations are kept informed of the facts since the United States, as a member of all important United Nations bodies, can by its vote and its prestige normally control the issuance of invitations. Further, the United States presumably would never wish to be in a position of denying admission to persons formally invited by United Nations bodies and, if a problem case did arise, we could undoubtedly handle the matter by the use of restrictions along the lines indicated below. In the case [Page 281] of persons invited by the Secretary-General himself, the United States would of course deal directly with the Secretary-General, as in the case of Secretariat employees, correspondents and representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations.

C. These principles are consistent with Immigration and Nationality Act.

I do not believe the foregoing principles would conflict with the application of Sections 212 (a) (27) and (29) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. I suggest that it is appropriate to apply those Sections to persons covered by Section 11 of the Headquarters Agreement only if there is clear and convincing evidence of the existence of the facts referred to in those Sections, namely, an intent to engage in subversive activities or a probability that such activities will occur.

D. Co-ordination with United States Mission in cases of denial of admission.

I recommend further that there be no denial of a visa or entry to persons covered by Section 11 of the Headquarters Agreement before this office has been apprised of the proposed action and reasons therefor, and has had opportunity to comment concerning the United Nations reaction which may be anticipated as the result of such denial. Of course, in cases in which, as indicated above, evidence upon which the denial is based is to be shown to the Secretary-General, no denial should occur until after I have received the evidence and taken up the matter with the Secretary-General.

2. Admission of persons covered by Section 11 of the Headquarters Agreement concerning whom there is some—but not clear and convincing—evidence of an intent or a probability of engaging in subversive activities.

A. Principles to be applied.

I suggest that cases of this kind be handled by a restriction upon the unofficial activities of the persons in question, and a restriction of their movement and residence to the Headquarters District and its immediate vicinity, as contemplated by the Headquarters Agreement. These restrictions and limitations should be made known to the individual involved at the time of the issuance of a visa or at the latest at the time of entry, and the individual should make a specific undertaking to abide by them. It should also be made clear to the individual that a violation of his undertaking will be considered an abuse of privilege of residence, and that he will be required in such cases immediately to leave the United States.

I anticipate that such restrictions and limitations need to be applied in only a relatively few cases judging from the small number which have arisen in the past. It is true that the enforcement of restrictions will require the expenditure of a certain amount of manpower and [Page 282] money, but I believe that the cost will be justified by the necessity of respecting the obligations of host country which the United States assumed by the Joint Resolution of the Congress.

B. Definition of Headquarters District and its immediate vicinity.

The application of this suggestion of course depends upon a definition of the Headquarters District and its immediate vicinity. The Secretary-General is prepared to agree to such a definition immediately. The area to be defined must be small enough to make practical the enforcement of the limitations and restrictions imposed but must, at the same time, contain ample facilities for residence and for access to the offices of the several Delegations to the United Nations. Accordingly, I recommend a definition of the area as that segment of the Borough of Manhattan between 28th Street and 96th Street, bounded by the East and Hudson Rivers.

C. Co-ordination with United States Mission when restrictions are to be applied.

I recommend that this office be notified of any case in which it is proposed to impose restrictions so that it may comment, as appropriate, concerning the reaction which may be anticipated from such action.

3. Admission of Communists and Fellow Travelers covered by section 11 (3), (4) and (5) of the Headquarters Agreement where there is no evidence apart from Party membership or affiliation of an intent or a probability to engage in subversive activities.

A. Expediting handling of such cases.

The Department’s position paper makes it clear that there is no intent on the part of the United States to bar aliens coming to the Headquarters District on official business merely because of their Communist Party membership or affiliation. However, since the admission of such persons falling within Section 11 (3), (4) and (5)of the Headquarters Agreement is barred in the first instance by Section 212 (a) (28) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, these persons can be admitted only by special action by the Attorney General under Section 212(d) (3) of the Act on the basis of a recommendation by the Secretary of State or the Consular officer concerned. In view of the United States position on this matter mentioned above, I suggest that the Secretary of State make a blanket recommendation that all cases of this type be promptly turned over to the Attorney General under Section 212(d) (3). Such a blanket action should serve to expedite the handling of these cases. I suggest further that the Attorney General designate a particular officer in the Department of Justice to deal with all such cases for him, also for the purpose of expediting action. It is desirable that United States representatives in various United Nations bodies not be embarrassed unnecessarily by delays such as have occurred in the past in the processing of cases of this kind. Delay is clearly disadvantageous to us.

[Page 283]

B. Imposition of restrictions in such cases.

I understand that the existing visa regulations already provide for the issuance of restricted visas to persons of this type, and suggest that their residence and movements also be confined to the area mentioned in the preceding section. (Section 2 B)

4. Difficulties which have arisen in the securing of visas by persons seeking entry into the United States on United Nations business.

From time to time our attention is called to cases in which the issuance of visas to United Nations personnel appears to be unnecessarily delayed, or in which United Nations personnel are subjected to what appears to be improper questioning by Consular officers. Such occurrences are unnecessary irritants in our relations with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and, in some cases, with Member Governments, and should be avoided if at all possible. I suggest that the visa regulations be reviewed with this problem in mind, and that Consular officers be instructed to give special care and consideration to applications by persons coming to the United States on United Nations business.

  1. Addressed to the Attorney General (Brownell) and Under Secretary of State Lourie. Transmitted under cover of a letter from Lodge to Lourie, May 21, 1953, not printed (315.3/5–1953).
  2. Presumably the joint memorandum, supra.
  3. Marginal notation: “OK”.