1964-11-28 - Project Virgo: Calling Mr. Amerika
Summary: Peggy Carter knows her Geneva Conventions.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
peggy wanda 

The United Nations is a warren of meeting rooms, offices, and various other meeting spaces mounted atop the rather expansive cafeteria. For anyone with title, rank, and a veto on the Security Council, there's no such thing as visiting the subbasement filing room converted to a windowless cell outfitted with twenty year old office furniture. Protocol calls for something a fair bit nicer.

Of course, the moment that Peggy Carter crosses the guarded threshold, she leaves US sovereign territory. Thus does New York City harbour a small nation unto itself. Guards and plenty of staff thread through the building at 3:27 PM. Translators and clerks generally evaporate into a spot generally overseen by some abstract art and one rather contemptuously dull bronze statue probably meant to resemble a quill, but it rather resembles a startled exclamation point about to tip over.

The American delegation consists of two actual Americans. In their wake is a Swiss senior functionary and two diplomats, one by skintone possibly Indian, potentially Middle Eastern. The other is secretly a bear, though the great, shaggy-haired fellow has a particularly rough Finnish accent that explains it all. They wait adjacent to a desk that leads back into one of the nicer, private conference rooms. On the other side of the desk, as though it's the River Spree, is the Russian delegation; the ambassador to the US, for one, and at least four aides. One of whom is unquestionably from somewhere southern, the strawberry hair and rounded curves suggestive of the Cossacks.

Peggy's dressed up nicely, a woman's business suit, her everpresent heels and red lip on. The Director of SHIELD looks more like an efficient secretary or perhaps a translator, given the standards of the day. But she arrives, heels tic-tacing out her approach, as the briefcase in her hand swings slightly with her steps, as she moves in to arrive for the meeting. She's already a bit annoyed, as she has better things to be doing with her time, but she'll at least make the attempt at a pleasant approach.

Click, clack, the rhythm matches the clock on the wall. It serves to time out the mood and the pulse of those present. The delegation on the Allied side makes a move, and the short straw apparently fell to the American, a senior official in the State Department in a crisp blue suit with the necessary flag pinned to his lapel. "Director Carter," he steps forward, offering his hand. "Bob Acheson. State." The broadness of his accent puts him flat in the backyard of MIT and Harvard, with the credentials of a New England yachtsman who summered in the Hamptons if time were good. His hair is going steely; not a young man, not an ancient mandarin. "Thank you for coming. I trust you understand the sensitivity and urgency. Let me introduce William Rusk, State," and he nods to the Russians. "Ambassador…"

The man in a fine grey suit does that for himself. "Dobrynin." Grey hair chases his ears, leaving a generous pate visible. He speaks English neat and elegant, and he's a career Soviet diplomat and politician. "Charmed."

Peggy shakes the hand offered. "Mr. Acheson. Mr. Rusk. Ambassador Dobrynin." She looks over to the others, and will move to take her seat. "What can I do for you today?" It's meant to at least get to the point of things, while remaining tactful about it.

Tact will go a long way, in any situation. Anatoly Dobrynin comports himself as smoothly and politely as a man in his station can, nodding to the clearly unhappy diplomatic corps from the USSR. They fall in at a respectful distance. The clerk at the desk is relegated to taking notes, probably, on a rather quiet typewriter. Rusk and Acheson retreat back to the side, not sitting with her. A delineation of some importance or none at all.

"I regret, Ms. Director Carter," and he almost pronounces the title 'Miss,' a slip owing to accent rather than rudeness, "to make your acquaintance under such circumstances. A social engagement would have been desirable." He shakes his head a bit, his gold-rimmed glasses flashing. "Madam, I am put in a delicate situation given all things. Several of my comrades are being unlawfully detained in this country, and naturally I have the greatest concern for their wellbeing. Inquiries have proved stubbornly unsuccessful. You, however, may be in a position to assist me and so I prevailed upon my colleagues for a bit of help, naturally."

"I see. Well, of course, I'd be interested in fostering good relations with our friends in the Soviet Union." Peggy's voice is nothing but tactful. "Who would these comrades be, Mr. Ambassador."

The Finn has the decency not to make a sound of derision. Lurking he does perfectly well at his considerable height. A suit does not change the fact is both a big man and possibly a survivor of the Winter War. Those unblinking, dark eyes regard the top of Dobrynin's head. The Swiss diplomat and the two Americans are wooden. Whatever is coming, it's clear they either don't like or have anxious fits about.

Dobrynin needs a scone and a cup of tea at a proper restaurant in London, maybe Harrod's to change things up. He seems perfectly comfortable in his element, if almost mildly bothered to ask. "Several gentlemen assisting a technical team as part of an overseas mission. There were, I believe, eight." A mild glance brings a nod from the Soviet contingent. "I have been, how do you so charmingly say, stonewalled? Yes, stonewalled at every turn attempting to locate their whereabouts. Last we knew, they were transported to the American mainland, and we have been unable to learn more ever since. I must impress the sensitivity of the matter, Director, in a way that some of our colleagues have not quite understood. These are citizens of the Soviet Union being held against their will."

Peggy nods. "Of course, Ambassador. I would be happy to look into the matter for you. The more information I have, the easier it will be for me to find some matter of resolution for you. You will of course have paperwork and documentation with the identities of these men and verification of their citizenship?" she asks.

"Ah, see, now? Comrades, I told you we simply needed to find the right door to open." Dobrynin again smiles, giving him the look of a university professor pleased by an academic breakthrough. He nods. "We do, yes. Passports will be sufficient, yes? We are unfortunately lacking their exit visas, given they were unlawfully removed. However, the photographs and the documents are clear. With your leave, I'll send Makarov to fetch the dossier from the guard."

Peggy nods. "Of course. I'm sure we all want to resolve this as quickly as possible." Of course, Peggy's definition of "resolve" may be very different from her Soviet "friends" here.

Off goes Makarov, the slightly less nervous looking of the Russians. He departs for a good three minutes before returning with a crisp folder, office standard everywhere, down to the stamps and sign-offs. It's thick as one might expect eight individuals to provide.

Dobrynin remains comfortably seated, hand around his knee, in the meantime. "Naturally. I have some understanding they may be in your agency's bailiwick," he replies. Makarov hands off the folder, which he takes. A quick look over the contents requires Dobrynin to break eye contact, flicking through page after page. "Yes, this looks complete. But if you will check for yourself, madame?" He turns the folio over to her.

Peggy replies "Of course, I can neither confirm nor deny anything regarding internal matters until I've had an opportunity to investigate." Pro forma. With the folio turned over to her, she'll take a moment, and start to flip through the folio.

Neat typed pages present basic salient details. Men spanning a gamut of ages from early twenties to thirties look up, eight in total. They're uniformly Russian in those dramatically dull uniforms, unremarkable expressions for the camera, and names. Cyrillic, of course, English and French provided underneath. There's a definite quality of processed and batched forms.

Dobrynin nods quite calmly. "We have made this overture in hopes to avoid greater trouble. Given the absence of even the slightest gesture to confirm their welfare, the Kremlin requests our citizens are turned over to us at the earliest opportunity. We will be happy to make reasonable accommodations to expedite this. A handover in a hospital, if that is necessary, arrangements for their transport to the nearest airport. If New York is too troublesome, then Boston. Halifax."

Peggy looks at the information, and frowns. "Ahh, Ambassador. I am, indeed, familiar with this situation. However, as I'm certain you're aware, this is not so simple. It involves certain violations of international law by your country."

"Would you care to describe those violations, madame?" asks the ambassador, quietly. The Finn is watching, the Swiss averted to the clerk who dutifully jots down a note. The Americans may be having apoplexies; it's rather difficult to tell, all things said and done.

"Of course." Peggy's expression is smooth. "Medical testing done on these men has proven that they are duplicates of an American POW, one James Buchanan Barnes. As I'm certain you're aware, Article 12 of the First Geneva Convention, ratified by your country, expressly mandates that captured soldiers are not to be killed, tortured, injured, or /subjected to biological experimentation/." Her words are a bit more firm on that. "Given that there is no way for these men to /exist/ without biological experimentation on Sergeant Barnes, I'm afraid the entire matter is very tangled with violations of the Geneva Convention."

"We are well aware of the Third Geneva Convention and the Fourth." Dobrynin looks completely unfazed by such things, but then, he might be unbothered if a palm tree potted downstairs started to speak. Such is the nature of the world in these days. "Madame, the medical testing you have executed is, unfortunately, flawed. Duplicates? There is a certain degree of biological similarity through degrees of relation. With all due respect, there is a clear and very certain provenance for each of those young men, and their parents would be horrified to imply there was any kind of biological experimentation. I do believe it excessive to request they describe under oath the conditions of their mutual relations, but as needs must. I will also point out, madame, that the young men in question were illegally seized by American forces on foreign soil, in a country where they were invited, legally, following all normal channels. The seizure has already exacerbated a tense situation, leading to a near complete breakdown of diplomatic relations with Hanoi. As far as they can see, the United States is trying to provoke a war with them, and the Soviet Union, by disregarding all forms of international protocol."

"Mmm. I feel unprepared to speak to possible flaws in any medical testing. After all, neither you nor myself are medical experts. However, I can assure you that the experts who have been involved with this testing are…as mentioned…experts. As for their alleged seizure, THAT is an entirely separate issue. However, I'm certain that we would be happy to provide copies of the medical testing for your experts to examine. I'm certain your country takes such possible violations as seriously as we do, and wishes to maintain the rule of law in this issue. As for internation protocol, we will be happy to submit additional copies to the Hague and if they feel that additional legal actions are required, things can take their course." She is not moved by the possible saber rattling on this issue.

"We do, madame, but the reality remains they are Soviet citizens. They are not American. All their bona fides, as applicable, establish that much. If it must be they are transferred to a neutral country while the particulars are sorted out, so be it. We are lodging an official protest that Soviet diplomats, doctors nor others have been given opportunity to so much as see them to be assured of their state of mind or health." Dobrynin doesn't smile. He has no need. "Copies to the Hague do not dismiss the factual evidence and witness accounts taken by investigators — neither Soviet nor Vietnamese — they were seized, violently. Let it be said they are entitled to due course of law, yes? Lawyers. Proper representation. They are people, and they moreover are taken from their homes, their lives. The city they were in was firebombed by the US Air Force, Director. I have seen the photographs. I have heard the accounts. Scientists saying when they sought shelter together, one of our young men was all but ripped away from them, and clearly injured in the doing. Forgive me for showing concern, but it has been weeks. We protect our people, here and abroad. I am but the messenger. Moscow is determined to see all our citizens outside our borders to be safe."

"This remains to be seen, Ambassador. If these men are, in fact, products of some kind of medical experimentation, they may not be entitled to ANY rights, being not human in the first place. We will be happy to provide medical records, and evidence of their good health. However, we are unprepared to take further action until all testing has been concluded, most especially as these men have been responsible for injuring American citizens as well. You have my regrets that the testing has taken the time it has, but one cannot hurry science." She puts some steel in her voice. "You may be the messenger, Ambassador. But let me convey our message. We will happily share information with you on their status. But we will not be bullied into premature action on the matter. And if the medical testing shows that the violations of the Geneva Convention that we suspect has taken place, you may expect that we will pursue it to its fullest extent."

"I will be certain to let my colleagues know this, Director. Be it said we await your response, and proof of their continued well-being immediately." Dobrynin doesn't bend, and he certainly doesn't bat an eyelash. Mind, it's said that he hardly did that over a little issue in Cuba even when his own leadership kept him in the dark and the President was damn near ready to slap him until that came to the fore. Duplicity isn't his art, by reputation and gossip. "They have insisted I pursue this to the highest levels, and out of respect for my countrymen in your care, if they are, I will maintain a regular correspondence on it. I fear it will make me something of a nag."

"Injuring American citizens?" Makarov grates along those lines. "How is that so, when they were seized while under attack?"

"I will be happy to maintain a correspondence with you on the matter, Ambassador. And these men injured personnel who were engaged in treating them. I'll be happy to provide details on THAT, as well." Peggy looks back. "I believe then that brings an end to this meeting? After all, the sooner I depart, the sooner I can get you the documentation you've requested."

"It does. I await your next contact," says Dobrynin. He rises then, holding out his hand. "Good afternoon, Director."

Peggy stands, and will shake the offered hand again. "A pleasure, Ambassador." She'll move to depart. There will be things to put into motion. But she's fairly pleased with how things went.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License