Freedom of Movement

August 20, 1948

Report Outline
Freedom of Movement Between Nations
Restrictions on Travel to Foreign Countries
Control of Visitors to the United States
International Action on Free Movement

Freedom of Movement Between Nations

Recent cases involving efforts by Soviet officials in the United States to force Soviet citizens here to return to Russia against their will, the Moscow government's persistent refusal to allow Russian women who have married foreigners to leave the country, and the mounting number of clandestine departures of Czechoslovaks from their homeland have directed the world's attention anew to the stringency of restrictions on freedom of movement under totalitarian regimes. The right of individuals to move freely from place to place, subject only to restrictions of a regulatory nature, is an attribute of personal liberty that is fundamental to any conception of freedom. Yet that right is denied today to many millions of persons in many parts of the world.

Various agencies of the United Nations are now striving to broaden observance of the right of freedom of movement as it applies to individuals, to newspaper correspondents, and to travelers. Inhabitants of western nations are most conscious of restrictions on free movement as they affect travel between countries. During the century before World War I restrictions on international travel in time of peace were known only in a few autocratic states like Czarist Russia and the Turkish Empire. Now they are the rule rather than the exception. Passport and visa requirements, police and currency regulations, and other restrictions hamper free movement at one national border after another.

Multiplicity of Regulations Affecting Foreign Travel

Great strides in development of air transport during World War II promised a new era of travel between nations and continents. But realization of that promise is being retarded, not only by various conditions incident to the aftermath of war, but also by the multiplicity of restrictions and requirements surrounding movement of persons from one country to another. Whereas 40 years ago it took a few minutes to book passage and a week or two to travel to Europe, now it takes two weeks to make the arrangements and less than a day to make the trip by air

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Immigration and Naturalization
Travel and Tourism