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U.S. Relaxes Restrictions On Polish Diplomats’ Travel

January 10, 1990

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The United States has lifted some restrictions on the travel of Polish diplomats and similar measures are under consideration for representative s of other Eastern European countries, the State Department said Tuesday.

Starting last month, Polish diplomats no longer have to notify the State Department of their travel between Washington, Chicago and New York - the three cities where Poland has diplomatic missions.

″This was done in response to the liberalization in Poland,″ which last year installed a Solidarity-led government and removed control from the Communist Party, the Department said.

Until now, Polish diplomats were required to arrange all their trips within the United States through the State Department and to give notice of their intention to travel two working days in advance. Under the new policy, they can now travel between Washington, New York and Chicago without notifying the State Department.

Similar rules apply to most East European diplomats in Washington, except Hungarians, although the ambassadors are exempt. East European diplomats at the United Nations in New York are under tighter supervision, being banned from traveling beyond a radius of 25 miles.

The limitations were imposed largely in response to similar measures against American diplomats serving in Communist bloc countries. The restrictions also help the FBI monitor the movements of Soviet bloc diplomats.

But with the tide of democratic reform tumbling Europe’s Communist governments, consideration is being given in Washington and in Eastern European capitals to easing the restrictions, officials said.

″We have spoken to the State Department about this, and they told us they have to consult with other parts of the government but that it could happen,″ said one East European official who asked not to be named.

A State Department official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was too early to lift travel restrictions on all East European diplomats, ″but we might see some relaxation.″

The easing toward Poland follows a decision announced last month to grant permanent building passes to Polish and Hungarian journalists covering the State Department. Previously, these reporters could not enter the building unescorted.

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