File No. 763.72114/285

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Russia (Marye)


243. Please bring [to] attention Russian Foreign Office that Austro-Hungarian Government desires [to] make agreement with Russian Government for inspection of prison camps similar to plan agreed upon between German and British Governments. Austro-Hungarian Government anxious this plan or similar plan be arranged immediately. Substance of plan as follows:

Each of the belligerent governments should furnish immediately, for the information of the other, a complete statement of its policy with regard to the treatment of prisoners, with full details showing the supplies furnished and the conditions of their life during internment, supplemented by copies of orders and instructions issued from time to time to the commandants of the prisoners’ camps.
The belligerents should permit the representatives of the United States in each country to have access to the prisoners and permit the prisoners to furnish written statements about their treatment and conditions of life, and their requirements, which they wish to have communicated to their own government.
In undertaking this work the Government of the United States will assume no responsibilities of any kind beyond the mere transmission of the statements and the distribution of the supplies furnished as above indicated, in accordance with such restrictions and regulations as are imposed by the governments concerned.

Department willing to lend assistance far as possible under circumstances. Since Spain has charge of Russian interests in Austria, Department could not agree to have American officials inspect camps in Austria unless requested to do so by both Governments and with acquiescence of Spanish Government.