Volume #20 - 694.|
EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST
RESTRICTIONS ON SOVIET EMBASSY PERSONNEL IN OTTAWA
Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Secretary of State for External Affairs
November 5th, 1954|
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ON SOVIET EMBASSY PERSONNEL|
As you are aware, we have imposed certain restrictions on the freedom of travel within Canada of members of the Soviet Embassy. These restrictions, first introduced by our Note of March 10, 1952 33 to the Soviet Embassy, and subsequently modified by our Notes of October 27, 1952? and August 26, 1953, 34 are as follows:
(a) Whenever any members of the Embassy staff, or Soviet members of Embassy households, wish to travel beyond a 75-mile radius from Ottawa, the Embassy must submit a standard notification form in duplicate to this Department or, in the case of Service members of the Embassy, to the Department of National Defence;
(b) This notification must be received at least 48 hours, exclusive of Sundays and holidays, before the time of departure; and
(c) The notification must include the following information: name and rank, means of transportation, route and destination including addresses, proposed dates of departure, and arrival and departure at each stopover, and of return to Ottawa.
While these restrictions were imposed originally as a retaliatory measure, following a NATO Council discussion on the desirability of countering the restrictions imposed on foreign diplomats in the Soviet Union, the RCMP have found them very helpful for security purposes. Not only do they enable us to follow the movement and activity of Soviet officials in Canada more closely, but it makes it more difficult for these officials to engage undetected in improper activities. The importance of this aspect of the restrictions is underlined by a striking fact unearthed during the Petrov case: four-fifths of the Soviet Embassy staff in Canberra were involved in one way or another in the activities of the KGB, the successor organization to the MVD in the intelligence field. 35
The RCMP have reported to us the two following matters which have come to their notice during their surveillance of the travels of Soviet officials in recent months:
(a) Certain members of the Embassy, including the Ambassador, deviate from time to time from their notified route; and
(b) Members of the Military Attaché's staff have been photographing industrial establishments in the Hamilton area.
These matters have been considered at a meeting held in the Department. Regarding the first, it was decided that the deviations already noted should be recorded, and that future flagrant or repeated deviations should be brought to the Ambassador's attention.
The discussion of Soviet photographic activities was inconclusive. The RCMP representative argued that such activities were open to prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. Our Legal Adviser, who was present, dissented: in any case, he pointed out that such action would not be in accordance with diplomatic custom. He felt that if we desired to restrict photographic activities by the Soviet Embassy, it would be better to devise restrictions comparable to our travel restrictions, and then declare any serious offender persona non grata. The possibility that such additional regulations would lead to new restrictions on our people in Moscow, however, prevented the meeting from deciding that new restrictions, on photographic activities, should be imposed at this time.
The purpose of this memorandum is twofold:
(a) To bring to your attention that our travel restrictions, which originally had merely a retaliatory purpose, are now making a valuable contribution to our counter-intelligence, and to seek your approval for this broadening of their scope; and
(b) To bring to your attention the two matters reported to us by the RCMP.