File No. 763.72114/337
The Ambassador in Germany (Gerard) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 30, 11.50 p. m.]
1943. Department’s 1415, 24th. There are no objections on the part of German Government to my distributing supplies to British prisoners or my administering British Government’s fund of £20,000 except that I may not purchase certain articles in Germany such as tobacco, chocolate, etc., which are forbidden by regulations for prisoners of war, but prisoners may receive these when sent from foreign country.
I have up to now distributed large amount [of] overcoats, uniforms, underclothing, etc., to British prisoners, but at present these articles are sent in accordance with wish [of] British Government to camps direct through American Express Company in Holland.
Although not embodied in note, Herr von Jagow has given me to understand that the proposed arrangement becomes effective with each government which concurs without waiting for agreement by all. Although understanding that British Government will agree, I have received no definite assurance to this effect. I understand of course that arrangements for French, Russian, and Belgian prisoners in Germany must be made by those Governments through Spanish Ambassador here.
General pass to visit and inspect camps and hospitals in Germany has but just been received, and visits to camps in Prussia will begin this week with a view to learning existing conditions, as was done in the case of Jackson’s visit to England. Besides myself, passes have been issued at my request to Jackson, Grew, Ohnesorg, Russell, Osborne, and Michelson, Consul at Hanover.
I suggested in my 1850, 15th, quartermasters, if attached here, could be given similar passes.
I inspected Ruhleben shortly previous to sending you my 1851, 15th, and a member of my staff was last there on March 31 [21?]. A representative of the civilians interned at Ruhleben comes to the Embassy twice weekly and confers regularly and at length with me and with Russell in charge of British Department regarding conditions at Ruhleben.