File No. 051.62/174

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State


2866. Confidential for the Secretary. Referring to package of papers forwarded in Department pouch to Berlin which you instructed Gerard to return to you personally, I transmit the following telegram written by Kirk, Third Secretary of Berlin Embassy, who has come here under Gerard’s oral instructions to send it as it could not safely be dispatched from Berlin. Kirk remains here pending your instructions. Papers are in my safe.

Package in question which has been placed with other official notes pending receipt of instructions from the Department, was inadvertently opened by Mr. Gerard himself and as importance of contents was instantly perceived all papers were examined. Package found to contain statements in duplicate of accounts of German Embassy in Washington together with supporting vouchers in the original or certified copy. Vouchers show that $5,000 was paid to Archibald for propaganda, $4,500 to Marcus Braun, editor of Fairplay, $3,000 to Miss Bay Beveridge for a lecture tour and $1,000 to Edwin Emerson for traveling expenses. In addition statements from the Western Union Telegraph Cable Company contain names of persons in the United States and elsewhere to whom messages were sent by the German Embassy as well as purpose of message, whether propaganda or official business. These statements show also the bill for cables to Bogotá, from April 1 to the 10th amounted to over $4,000 and to Guatemala $3,000 and to Shanghai $2,000. Large sums spent in cables to Mexico City, Manila, Honolulu, Haiti and Buenos Aires in that paper appear to furnish authentic list of all kinds German agents in the United States and elsewhere and also indicate extent and direction of German propaganda.

In this connection Mr. Gerard considers that Department would be justified in examining papers in question especially in view of the fact that since beginning of war American Embassy in Berlin has found it necessary to direct seventeen notes to the German Foreign Office protesting against opening of mail addressed to the Ambassador. These protests have for most [part] been ignored while in the single case where a letter to another Chief of Mission in Berlin was opened, an official apology was (made) before protest was lodged.

[Page 943]

Mr. Gerard, in accordance with his custom in opening correspondence, did not tear envelopes or break seals of this parcel but detached bottom flap of envelope without it.

In view of nature of documents it did not seem advisable to photograph them in Berlin or to entrust them to regular courier.

American Ambassador