File No. 763.72114/3607a
The Secretary of State to the Secretary of Labor ( Wilson)
Sir. In dealing with the various questions which have arisen from the internment of certain categories of enemy aliens in this country, I have found that difficulties have arisen from the fact that jurisdiction over these enemy aliens is divided between the Departments of War, Justice and Labor. I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that in order to coordinate the treatment of the various classes of interned enemy aliens and to present a unified front to our enemies in this connection, it might be advisable to transfer the former crews of enemy merchant ships who are now in your custody to the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice. The Attorney General could then, in his discretion, transfer those seamen whom he considered it undesirable to release on parole to the custody of the War Department for permanent detention during the period of the war.
I understand that this question was discussed at an informal conference held at the Department on April 22, at which the representatives of the various Departments interested were in agreement as to the advisability of this proposed transfer and I shall therefore be glad to learn whether the suggestion meets with your approval, and whether steps may not now be taken to carry it into effect.
I have [etc.]