215. Memorandum From the Acting Secretary of State (Rush) to President Nixon1 2
- The Protection of Foreign Officials and Establishments in the United States
Diplomatic establishments in Washington, the large number of foreign missions to the United Nations and consulates in New York, and consulates and official establishments in other metropolitan areas are coming under the increasing threat of terrorist actions. The sources of these threats are both domestic and international. It is the acknowledged responsibility of the U.S. Government to provide adequate protection for these foreign official entities, just as we expect foreign governments to protect our personnel and missions abroad.
There are three separate problem areas through which runs the common thread of the terrorist threat. We have completed an over-all examination of the problem and have identified possible solutions which are described below area by area. The solutions, including the ones I recommend, are vigorously and variously opposed by the Department of the Treasury (including the Executive Protective Service) and the Department of Justice (including LEAA). Any comprehensive solution adopted would require new or amended legislation and substantial appropriations.[Page 2]
A problem common to all localities is that existing legislation, particularly the Federal law on the protection of foreign officials, (PL 92–539) has, as a rule, not been vigorously enforced.
Despite generally excellent work by the New York City Police Department and the temporary assignment there of elements of the Executive Protective Service (EPS), foreign missions are not adequately protected. The U.S. Government is under constant and understandable pressures from the foreign missions (principally the Soviets, and recently the French), from Ambassador Scali, from the City of New York and from Congressional representatives of the area to improve the standards of protection.
Two possible minimal solutions are:
Extension of EPS jurisdiction to New York and the permanent assignment of 70 EPS officers there. Annual grants to the New York City Police Department from the discretionary funds of the Law Enforcement Assistance Agency (LEAA) may be useful to induce greater NYCPD earmarking of resources.
Note: The Treasury Department is opposed to the extension of EPS jurisdiction to New York. If directed to send the EPS to New York, however, the Treasury Department insists that a minimum of 214 EPS officers would be necessary to provide adequate protection. Ambassador Scali, who strongly prefers the EPS solution, believes a complement of 70 EPS officers is ample. LEAA’s current legal authority would not enable it to allocate discretionary funds to New York City for outright grants for this purpose.
Assignment to New York of up to 60 Department of State-controlled guards at an annual cost of $950,000 in addition to appropriations now authorized for the Department.
Note: It is questionable whether an adequate number of qualified private guards are available for this function, which the EPS has shown it can do more than adequately.
We have considered and rejected an additional option—use of military personnel to protect foreign officials in this country.
I recommend the first option of extending a minimum EPS contingent to New York coupled with grants from LEAA discretionary funds. This would require negotiation with NYCPD to earmark greater resources for protection.
The Washington Problem
The murder of the Israeli Assistant Military Attaché in July and the maiming of a British Embassy secretary in September are grim reminders of the terrorist potential in our immediate community. Current intelligence continues to include Washington as a priority target for international terrorists. More than a few diplomatic missions and governments are increasingly frustrated by what they consider the lack of adequate protection. They do not hesitate to remind us of the reciprocity involved. We are making additional efforts to reduce the risk to foreign officials and establishments in the Washington [Page 4] area. For example, EPS has requested 308 additional officers for this purpose; we support this request. We should not imply that we can provide absolute security nor that we can furnish specific protection, e.g., fixed posts, in a particular emergency situation. Moreover, the security agency concerned in a situation must retain ultimate authority to specify appropriate preventive measures available to it. Nevertheless, there is one measure in addition to the EPS request for additional agents, which can and should be taken to diminish the threat to our foreign official guests: private guards under Department of State control.
That the Department be authorized to have up to 40 private guards to complement the efforts of the EPS and the Metropolitan Police. This requires additional authorization and appropriation of $600,000.
The terrorist threat is heaviest in Washington and New York but it clearly extends to foreign officials throughout the U.S. Examples of incidents: Murder of two Turkish consular officials in the Los Angeles area, defacing of the Soviet Consulate General in San [Page 5] Francisco (the San Francisco Police Department refuses to establish a fixed post at the Soviet Consulate), the severe bombing of the Iranian Consulate General in San Francisco in 1971, and, more recently, Federal conviction of several Iranian students who assaulted an Iranian official in San Francisco. All these attacks were for internationally-connected reasons. Cities with the largest consular representation are under heavy financial and other pressure to increase protection of consular premises and individuals. The Departments of State and Justice are constantly being urged both by municipal and foreign officials to do more. The following measures should be considered. The Justice Department has the same objections to use of LEAA funds in other cities as it does in New York.
LEAA Grants to Selected Cities—The Federal Government should offer aid to the police authorities in the cities which are hosts to the largest number of consulates: Los Angeles (41), Chicago (36), San Francisco (43), New Orleans (25), and Houston (24), as well as Honolulu (5), which has special security problems. An equitable formula should be devised to provide a modest amount from LEAA discretionary funds for use in connection with local augmentation of protection of local consular establishments not to exceed $500,000 for any one city.
Use of Private Guards—The Department’s Office of Security should be authorized the contingency use of the same private guard force sought for Washington for protection of consulates outside Washington. Additional [Page 6] authorization and appropriations would be needed, as well as a modification of the Pinkerton law.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 325, Subject Files, Protection of Foreign Officials and Installations, 1 of 1. Limited Official Use. The attachment, a April 30 letter from Rush to Saxbe urged the Attorney General to promote more vigorous measures to protect foreign officials and property. Nixon’s response is published as Document 216.↩
- Rush recommended several measures to ensure the protection of foreign officials and installations within the United States.↩