24. Draft Telegram From the Department of State to Multiple Eastern European Diplomatic Posts1


  • US Policy Concerning Sit-Ins by Would-Be Emigrants on US Diplomatic/Consular Premises in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
In the last two months, there have been several incidents in which persons seeking emigration from the German Democratic Republic [Page 78] have entered the US Embassy2 and other allied missions in Berlin and refused to leave until they are permitted to emigrate. In consequence, Department has conducted a thorough review of policy in this area and has developed the following guidance for Soviet and Eastern European posts.
It is the policy of the United States not repeat not to grant asylum at its units or installations within the jurisdiction of a foreign state. Immediate temporary refuge for humanitarian reasons, however, may be granted in extreme or exceptional circumstances wherein the life or safety of a person is put in danger (2 FAM 228.3).3 The Department reaffirms the applicability of 2 FAM 228.3 under the extreme or exceptional circumstances it envisions.
The following guidance is intended to address the more common situation in which an individual seeking emigration refuses to depart US diplomatic or consular premises but danger to life or safety is not present.
Each addressee post is instructed to designate suitable personnel to perform the task of handling cases of would-be emigrants who occupy USG premises. These personnel, as well as post duty officers, should become thoroughly familiarized with pertinent FAM provisions and these instructions. These personnel should be rehearsed and trained in procedures for handling these cases. During an incident, persons assigned to handle the incident should be available on 24-hour call.
In such incidents, the post’s goal is to persuade the individual to depart within two hours of arrival.
If the initial two-hour period lapses with the individual still refusing to leave, the Department should be notified by NiACT Immediate telegram. Posts should follow the following format for their telegram: the cable should be slugged for P, HA, L, and the appropriate geographic bureau. The cable should include the following information when available, but submission should not be delayed pending its development.
Names and nationality of the individual(s) involved. If the individual has a claim to US citizenship or might qualify for visa to enter the US, this should be noted.
Date and place of birth and occupation.
Description of any documentation in the individual’s possession.
What foreign authorities are aware of individual’s action. Any actions taken by the foreign government related to the individual’s presence on US diplomatic or consular premises.
Background and circumstances surrounding the individual’s course of action.
Exact location of the individual and conditions under which the individual is maintained.
Reason for the individual’s action.
Description of any criminal charges known or alleged to be pending against the individual, including any previous punishment for attempts to emigrate. Indicate also any piracy at sea, air piracy, or hijacking background,
Any Communist Party affiliation or affiliation with other political party, any government office now held or previously occupied.
Assessment of mental state and—if there appear to be serious problems—physical condition of individual.
Status of post’s efforts to persuade the individual to leave.
Whether the case is known to the public or press, or is likely to become known.
Post’s recommendation as to action by the Department.
Following the expiration of the two hour period, posts should continue to make every effort to persuade the individual to leave. Nothing should be done to reinforce his intention to stay on USG premises—Chiefs of Mission are authorized to determine how this provision should be implemented.
Chiefs of Mission have the discretion to determine when this secondary period has ended and more permanent arrangements (i.e. for a longer stay) have to be considered.
Chiefs of Mission are authorized to force the departure of any individual who exhibits violent tendencies threatening the safety of US employees.
In all other cases, the Chief of Mission may recommend forced departure of the individual if that appears the only viable alternative. Any decision to do so will be made by principal of the Department, normally the Under Secretary for Political Affairs.
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Secretary George Shultz, Official Memoranda (03/02/1984) (4). Confidential; Papers Priority. Proposed to be sent Priority to East Berlin, Belgrade, Warsaw, Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia, Prague, Leningrad, Moscow, Poznan, and Krakow; also sent to Bonn and West Berlin. Drafted by Gallup; cleared by Matthews, Burt, Palmer, Elizabeth Verville (L), Surena, West, Niles, and Eagleburger; approved by Shultz. A sent copy of this telegram was not found.
  2. See Documents 269273.
  3. Attached but not printed.