File No. 125.0055/1

The Ambassador in Germany (Gerard) to the Secretary of State

No. 308]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit to you herewith a copy in translation of a note verbale, received from the Imperial German Foreign Office, stating the position of the German Government, respecting the recognition of consular officers in territory under occupation by the German Army.

I have [etc.]

James W. Gerard

The German Foreign Office to the American Embassy


Note Verbale

Now that the German Army has occupied various portions of enemy countries, the German Government considers the exequaturs of the consuls, formerly permitted to act in such districts, to have expired.

The Imperial Government would, however, be disposed to consider favorably any wishes of allied and neutral countries, respecting the establishment of consular offices in the districts in question, excepting, of course, those districts where military operations are still in course.

In Belgium consular activities in the provinces of East and West Flanders would accordingly not be permitted at present. With regard to the other parts of Belgium, consular officers would be permitted to act for the present in Brussels, Antwerp, and Liége, but not at other points.

The Imperial Government would not consider the issuance of formal exequatur advisable; to consular officers, whose names are communicated to the Foreign Office, would simply be granted temporary recognition to enable them to act in their official capacity, under reserve of the usual investigations respecting their records.

In view of the peculiar circumstances contingent on military occupation, the Imperial Government would be grateful if only such persons should be nominated as are assuredly friendly to Germany or have at least neutral convictions.

In bringing the above to the attention of the Embassy, the Foreign Office has the honor respectfully to request that the American Government may be notified in the above sense. As the Embassy is aware, the German Government has already recognized Consul General Diederich at Antwerp, assuming this to be the wish of the American Government.