249.1111 Oatis, William N./5–1553:Telegram

No. 30
The Ambassador in Czechoslovakia (Wadsworth) to the Department of State

top secret

523. Mytel 519.1 Following is verbatim English language text President Zapotocky’s reply to President Eisenhower’s personal message delivered by me to Czechoslovak Prime Minister March 30:2

“I wish to thank you for your congratulations at the occasion of my election for President of the Czechoslovak Republic transmitted by the Ambassador of the United States of America to the Prime Minister March 30, 1953.

“With respect to your personal message expressing the hope that consideration will be given to the possibility of release of William Oatis I am in the position to inform you that on May 15, 1953 I have upon the proposal of the government and under Section 74, paragraph 1, subparagraph 11 of the Constitution decided to grant pardon to William Oatis for the still uncompleted part of his sentence of deprivation of liberty.”

Reply was handed me by Prime Minister in course hour conversation late this afternoon (full report by following telegram3) referring to our request with which he had complied that President Eisenhower’s message not be given publicity Prime Minister requested [Page 63] no publicity be given President Zapotocky’s reply. He will issue Presidential press release tomorrow morning substantially as follows:

“In use rights given to me by Constitution, I grant pardon to William Oatis born January 1, 1914 in Marion, Indiana, USA, citizen of USA for the still uncompleted part of his sentence of deprivation of liberty imposed on him by Prague Court 4 July 1951, this decision being taken on basis petition Mrs. Laurabel Oatis November 1952.”

  1. Telegram 519, May 15, reported that Široký wished to see Wadsworth at 6 p.m. that day. (249.1111 Oatis, William N./5–1553)
  2. For text, see the enclosure to Document 25.
  3. Wadsworth reported the substance of his conversation with Prime Minister Široký and Foreign Minister David in telegrams 524 and 525, both dated May 16. The first dealt with the release schedule and travel arrangements for Oatis; the second concerned the desirability for the further improvement of U.S.-Czechoslovak relations. (249.1111 Oatis, William N./5–1653)