File No. 763.72114/3163

The Secretary of War ( Baker) to the Secretary of State

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication of December 27, 1917,1 concerning the report that the German Government has expressed its willingness to come to an agreement with the United States regarding the payment of commissioned officers held prisoners of war.

In the absence of any advice on this subject before December 15, instructions were issued to the commandants of the different war prisoner barracks to discontinue any such payments until some agreement relative thereto was concluded with Germany.

It is believed advisable to allow these instructions to remain in force until an agreement on this question is actually concluded, as the stoppage of any payments, to German officers held prisoners by us, will make it to the interest of their Government to facilitate action on this agreement.

The War Department can see no objection to a provision in this agreement that the pay decided upon shall take effect on the date that previous payments were discontinued, if such a provision is desired by the German Government.

Very sincerely,

Newton D. Baker
  1. Not printed; see preceding telegram.