63. Editorial Note

At its 279th meeting on March 8, the National Security Council discussed the matter of a reappraisal of United States policy regarding Soviet bloc shipments afforded diplomatic immunity. This discussion centered in part on NSC 5527, dated December 1, 1955, prepared by the ICIS and the IIC, with the ad hoc participation of representatives of the CIA and the assistance of advisers from the AEC and the Naval Research Laboratory. (A copy of NSC 5527 is in Department of State, S/S–RD Files: Lot 71 D 171, NSC 5527 Series.)

The Council adopted Recommendation 1 of NSC 5527, which noted that “No size or weight restrictions should be imposed at this time on diplomatic pouches and shipments under diplomatic seal from Soviet bloc countries.” It also noted the stand-by plans contained in Recommendations 2 and 3 of NSC 5527 for action in the event of a decision by the President to impose restrictions as recommended, and directed the IIC and ICIS to keep such plans under continuing review, with reports to the Council at appropriate intervals. The Council directed the United States Communications Board to study and report to the Council on the “feasibility of maintaining an adequate and secure U.S. communications system in the event of the imposition of limitations [Page 234]on diplomatic shipments set forth in Recommendation 2 of NSC 5527”; adopted Recommendation 4 of NSC 5527 with an amendment noted in the record; and directed the Department of State to “study the feasibility of obtaining international agreement prohibiting the shipment under diplomatic immunity of radioactive materials which would authorize adequate inspection, through detection devices, of such shipments; such study to be forwarded to the Council through the NSC Planning Board.” This study by the Department of State, dated August 21, is Ibid.,S/PNSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, Diplomatic Shipments (NSC 5527); the Communications Board study, dated September 14, is Ibid. This subject was considered again by the National Security Council at its meeting on September 20; see Document 88. The memorandum of discussion of the March 8 NSC meeting is in the Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records.