Jan 1967, Chamberlain
JOHN up as Consular Treaty Helps Â·' .1 Russians But Not U.S. Despite the warnings of FBI ChiH J. Kdgar Hoover, the Idea of swapping consulates witli Soviet Russia is due for another senatorial whirl. 'Jlie argument Is that tlic benefits of such an excliange would be reciprocal. Acconiing to tills way of thinking, we would be getting windows on interior Russia even as the Soviets were gaining access to K look-see position in tiic bigger cities of the United States. Thus, if an "espionage factor" must be reckoned with, the Americans would have as much opportunity to pick up secrets as the Soviets. 'Ilie answer to this is "Oil, yeah?" As M. Stanton Evans, the Indianapolis editor, has pointed out, the Russians would be opening their new Soviets consulates in America in the midst of an open society. The U.S., on the other hand, would be getting mere houseroom at isolated street numbers in a society that does not permit free movement or even unchap- eroned conversation. All a Russian has lo do to ascertain the whereabouts of a critical military installation or a factory making rocket components in any part of the U.S. is to pick up a local telephone book. But, as Evans says, "our own diplomats in Moscow, where there is not even a public phone book, cannot obtain critical information with similar ease." Then there is the question of do\vn-the-]ine consular employes. Nobody gets a job in a Communist office in the United States unless he is a tried-and-true member of some Soviet apparat. But in the U.S. offices in Russia ' there are many Soviet citizens. Evans, in his vital Cold War handbook, '"Hie Politics of Surrender," quotes a relevant figure: "As of 19GO, there were i05 Americans and ninety-three Soviets in the U.S. embassy in Moscow; there were 271 Russians and zero Americans in Hie Russian Embassy in Washington." And, as J. Edgar Hoover has said in a report prepared for the Senate Internal Security subcommittee, tire FBI has "hard" information that three out of four Soviet officials in the U.S. "have some kind of intelligence assignment." If we are really fated by our own excess of kindness to let down the bars in this matter of exchanging regional consulates with the Soviets, we might at least use a treaty as a lever to pry loose some improvements in what might be called the cultural aeration of Russian society. We might stipulate that important U.S. consular employ- es be given expanded travel rights inside Russia. We could also insist that tlie "mix" of consular employes in each country should be roughly similar. This would mean, no doubt, that more Americans in the United States would be compelled to learn Russian in order to qualify for jobs even in minor positions in the proposed new Soviet consulates. But we could accept the condition in order to gain tiie benefits. Quite aside from any quid pro quos that might be directly connected with a consular treaty, it would be next door to idiotic to let more potential Soviet spies loose in America at a time when the Communists themselves are reacting in such a hardshelled way toward the oc- t-asit'iial prankish Ameri c a post adolescent who steals toy bear. There is also the ca.se (if the American citizen of Czechoslovak origin who was seized in 1'rague when the Russians, had invited him to attend a travel agents' convention in Mocow, dumped him, presumably by prcarrangement, into the laps of the Czech security police. As long as such incidents persist, there is no sense in signing a consular treaty. After 50 years of existence, may be granted that Communist Russia is here to stay. Thus there are good arguments for making the points of contact between Moscow and the West less abrasive. All that this column insists upon is that there be no double standard involved when new treaties and new conventions are being discussed. Senators wiio are inclined to favor a consular treaty should be asked to weigh the differences between the two societies in which the new consulates would be operating. In the U.S., the American Communist Party of Gus Hall is free to propagandize and proselytize and to a as a carrier for ideas that soon be percolating among the New Left. But in Soviet Russia, there is no Jeffersonian party. Simply because there is no real give-and-take in Russia where contact with foreigners is involved, we should get hard guarantees whenever we make a new deal with Moscow. For, be assured, there will be nobody inside Russia to plead our case whenever the next Newcomb Molt is placed on a train and murdered while en route to labor camp.