File No. 124.55/2a

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Belgium ( Whitlock )


248. For your information. German Ambassador accompanied by his staff has to-day been handed his passports. Ambassador Gerard and his staff have been instructed to leave Berlin at once, and similar instructions have been sent to all the consuls in the German Empire.

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Inasmuch as you are accredited to the Belgian Government, the Department believes that you should remain in Brussels unless the German authorities express the desire to have you leave Belgium, in which case you should turn Legation and archives over to Spanish representative and take up your residence near the Belgian Government at Havre.

In the event of your leaving Belgium, you should instruct the consuls at Antwerp, Brussels, Liege, and Ghent to place consulates and archives in custody of representative of Spain and proceed with American clerks to the United States where they will be given leave of absence in Department’s discretion, except Nasmith who should report to Consul at Amsterdam for duty.

Expenses of transportation of families and of storage of household and personal effects or rent of residence where storage not possible or lease of residence not terminable will be paid from time to time upon receipt of accounts and vouchers. Codes, cipher messages, or translations, seals and accounts, including all accounts, vouchers and papers relating to expenses of representing foreign interests and for individual relief should be delivered to Legation for transmission to the Department.

Rent of offices to March 31 should be paid. Also in the event of consuls leaving, pay salaries of clerks and employees who are not American citizens to March 31, when services of foreign subjects will terminate. Take receipts covering full period of each payment. Legation should deliver to Spanish Minister list of future payments to be made for rent and similar obligatory expenses of Legation and consulates after March 31 with blanks and instructions covering such payments Discontinue all expenses not obligatory.

In the event of consuls leaving, all money on hand belonging to United States in excess of payments herein authorized should be deposited with Legation and receipt taken. Legation should deliver to Spanish Minister amount sufficient to meet expenses of Legation and consulates for 6 months, taking receipts therefor. Remainder should be taken to Havre. Funds held on account of foreign governments for relief and other purposes should be delivered to diplomatic representatives selected by those governments to take charge of their interests, taking and forwarding to Department receipts in triplicate for exact amount so delivered.

Mr. Hoover is very anxious that members of the relief commission remain at their stations, but it seems to the Department and to him that you should obtain an undertaking from the German authorities that members of the commission should be considered as members of your staff in the event of the withdrawal of Americans from Belgium.