439. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Travel Restrictions on PRC Mission

Peking’s announcement that it intends shortly to send a delegation to the General Assembly raises the question of what kind of travel restrictions will be applicable for the PRC Mission.

There are at present three types of travel restrictions applied to Communist missions in New York:

The Soviet Mission must notify USUN at least 48 hours in advance of proposed travel beyond a 25-mile zone around New York (unless we specifically disapprove, the Soviet traveller proceeds on his trip);
Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania need not give advance notification though they and the USSR must apply for permission to visit specified closed counties (appreciably greater in number in the case of the USSR);
Albania, Mongolia and Cuba must receive prior permission for each trip and follow more cumbersome procedures to travel anywhere beyond the 25-mile zone. While implementation in fact varies, travel theoretically is supposed to take place only in connection with UN business.

The third alternative would be logically consistent with the policy we have followed toward Communist UN members with whom we do not have diplomatic relations and is the nearest equivalent to the type of restrictions applied by Peking on the travel of foreign diplomats in China. A later decision to ease controls would be easier to handle than if such controls had to be tightened. Countries governed by this alternative have done much less travelling in the United States, a fact which has eased the security problem.

Choosing either of the first two alternatives might be useful as a gesture to Peking in connection with the President’s visit as well as a [Page 876]gesture of reciprocity for the manner your own visits to Peking were handled. Application of the first type of restriction also would be in line with our general effort to treat Peking on the same basis as Moscow. Application of more restrictive procedures might be taken by Peking as an excessively cool U.S. welcome to the international community. However, the limits on travel involved in these alternatives stem from reciprocity for treatment of U.S. diplomats, a factor not yet existent in the case of the PRC.

Allowing the PRC representatives travel privileges no less favorable than those granted the USSR would give the PRC greater access to Chinese communities and to extremist organizations in the United States. We believe, however, that the PRC will be circumspect, at least initially, in its dealings with such groups. In any case, our ability to control PRC travel and handle problems of personal security, would be almost the same under the first as under the third alternative since under both we can disapprove trips and ascertain the itinerary of PRC travellers.

It is our recommendation that we follow the policy applied to the Soviet Mission, permitting the PRC representatives to travel beyond the 25-mile zone upon 48-hour advance notice to USUN and giving them the same list we give the Soviet Mission of counties situated throughout the United States to which travel is barred. In practice special permission is often given for travel to these areas.

Mr. Mardian of the Department of Justice, in his capacity as Chairman of the Interdepartmental Committee on Internal Security (established under the NSC with representatives from Justice, Defense and State) has sent a letter on behalf of the Committee to the Secretary of State containing a recommendation identical to the one in this memorandum.

We believe that we should inform the PRC representatives of these restrictions as soon as possible after their arrival in New York. Therefore, unless we hear otherwise from you before then, we will instruct USUN to send a note upon their arrival informing them of the applicable rules with respect to travel in the United States.2

Theodore L. Eliot, Jr.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 302, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. VIII. Confidential. An attached transmittal memorandum from Marshall Wright to Kissinger is also dated November 8. At the end of that memorandum, Kissinger initialed his approval of a recommendation authorizing USUN to notify the Chinese Mission that it would be subject to the same travel restrictions as the Soviet Mission.
  2. Authorization was transmitted to USUN in telegram 205625, November 11. (Ibid.) Delivery of the note was reported in telegram 4228 from USUN, November 13. (Ibid.)