File No. 763.72114/3336

The Chargé in Switzerland ( Wilson) to the Secretary of State


2735. Department’s 1488, February 23. I did not cable proposals previously as original note of which copy received through Spanish Legation was sent by German Foreign Office to Swiss Legation, Berlin, with request for speediest possible transmission. Am now informed note was mailed from here February 16.

German note dated February 101 states willingness to conclude agreement. Suggests that same arrangements be made as concluded between British and Germans, dividing officers into two classes for the purpose of pay: one, subalterns; two, captains and higher grades. Class one to be paid $83.35 and class two $95.25 monthly, being 350 marks and 400 marks respectively at rate of 4.20. Account lower cost of living, American officer prisoners will need only in class one 160 marks, class two 250 marks, respectively. Under German-British agreements British officer prisoners in Germany paid less with consent of British Government than Germans in England and considered undesirable to allow American officers more than other Entente officers in Germany, but should America not agree, Germany notwithstanding doubtless willing to make payments equal to rates proposed above for Germans in America.

Payments not only to be made to active German officers but to interned Germans of military rank on leave, in reserve units, and in retirement. If any question, status to be decided by prisoner’s own Government. German Government binds itself expressly to repay amounts paid under last categories after war.

Noncommissioned officers and privates entitled to free food, lodging and clothing. Germany would appreciate treatment of those in class three consisting of temporary officers and temporary officials of German Army and Navy, as well as naval engineer aspirants, naval paymaster aspirants, naval warrant officers and vice warrant officers, similar to that accorded to officers, and will assure reciprocity this regard. Such treatment would be including detention in especial camps and payment of two-thirds of rates established as above [Page 42] for the class one. Sums so paid to be returned after end of war. Special regulations proposed for the class three as follows:

Any prisoner supported by the state to receive only $19.00 or 78 marks cash. Remainder to be kept by state which then is to supply quarters and food similar to that of maximum one above.
If prisoner pays for own food, none of his pay to be taken by state and certain furniture and privileges to be provided, namely, bed with bedding, chair, cupboard or box with lock, table, washing utensils, tumbler, pail, sufficient light and heat, requisites for cleaning room.
In case of hospital treatment two-thirds of pay to be kept by state, remainder to be paid prisoner and quarters and food similar those accorded regular officers.
Privates of prisoners’ nationality to be assigned as servants to prisoners class three.

  1. Not printed.