File No. 763.72114/180

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


1474. My telegram 1352, December 28, and my despatch 690, December 29.1 British Government have now addressed to me a formal application that the United States Government lend the services of a certain number of officials from the Quartermaster General or pay departments to act under the direction of the Embassy in Berlin and visit camps in Germany, and supervise the provision and distribution of money and necessities and minor comforts for British officers and men prisoners of war and interned civilians, in Germany.

British Government request that the Ambassador at Berlin be instructed to recommend this proposal to the acceptance of the German Government and that upon its acceptance the United States Government will select and dispatch the necessary officers to undertake the work.

British Government are ready to place at the disposal of the Ambassador at Berlin the necessary funds up to a maximum amount calculated at the rate of one pound per man per quarter of prisoners of war and interned civilians now in Germany, or roughly £20,000 a [Page 1006] quarter from the time when the scheme can be put into operation. The question of the continuance of subvention at this or some lower figure would be subject to reconsideration later if necessary.

If the scheme is approved, British Government would in addition to amounts expended in relief repay to the United States Government the cost of the salaries of the officials so employed, as well as the necessary expenses of the mission, and they suggest that the details with regard to payment, accounting, supplies, etc., could be advantageously settled when the officials in question arrive in this country.

An arrangement already exists by which this Embassy looks after German prisoners of war and interned civilians in this country, with special facilities for the distribution of money, parcels, etc., to German prisoners in the United Kingdom. British Government point out that this scheme which is already in operation is practically the equivalent of what is now proposed in Germany. If, however, the German Government would consider more satisfactory a similar arrangement on exactly similar lines to that which is now proposed for British prisoners in Germany, British Government express themselves as ready to give their consent.

Grey further refers to the request in his note of December 26 transmitted with my despatch 690 that the United States Government cause a sum of money be expended at once in providing money, clothing, extra food, and other things which may seem necessary for the relief of British prisoners without waiting until the regular machinery can be set up, and asks for an early reply, repeating his statement that he will hand me a draft for £20,000 as soon as it has been agreed to.

American Ambassador
  1. Latter not printed.