780. Telegram 260 to Prague1

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260. Your 705 from Geneva.

Though effectiveness US ban on travel Communist China as pressure on Chinese Communists release imprisoned Americans may possibly have been somewhat weakened by fact three correspondents defied ban, we do not believe US Government can or should alter opposition to travel Americans in area where no repeat no protection [Typeset Page 1313] can be provided, where regime continues hold Americans as political hostages, and where it desires promote cultural exchanges to break down US policy of non-recognition and non-seating in UN. For US to acquiesce in such travel would encourage Communists to redouble efforts to promote QUOTE cultural contacts UNQUOTE while taking no repeat no action to release imprisoned Americans.

Following considerations have bearing on Department’s position:

Employers of Look correspondents ordered them out of Communist China after policy explained to them. Department believes moral suasion will still effectively keep most correspondents and other Americans from going.
Investigation under way to determine if three correspondents who defied ban misused passports preliminary to determining what further [Facsimile Page 2] action will be taken.
Wirin travel to Communist China and North Korea is unique case of individual travelling as officer of Federal court pursuant to court order specifically authorizing such travel for purpose of offering opportunity to prepare defense of persons accused by our Goverment of crime of sedition. If Wirin’s travel prevented, this might seriously prejudice Government’s efforts prosecute case. Wirin’s passport was not validated for Communist China or North Korea.

Under present circumstances Department will therefore continue adhere to policy of discouraging to greatest possible extent travel to Communist China by any Americans including correspondents and will refuse to acquiesce in requests for approval such travel either with or without passport.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.93/1–2357. Secret; Limit Distribution. Repeated for information to Geneva for Osborn as telegram 769. Drafted by Clough and Sebald; cleared in draft by Phleger and in FE/P and SCA.