File No. 763.72114/3559a

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland ( Stovall)

[Telegram]

1800. Your despatch No. 1707, November 9, 1917. Request Spanish Embassy, Berlin, to transmit to German Government the following reply of the Government of the United States to the Imperial German Government regarding the repatriation of the military and naval, sanitary or spiritual personnel of the United States and Germany.

With reference to the reply of the Imperial German Government to the inquiry of the Government of the United States as to the attitude of the German Government with respect to the repatriation of the military or naval, sanitary or spiritual personnel of either state now held, or hereafter to be held, by the other, the Government of the United States submits the following:

The Government of the United States, while it does not consider the provisions of the Geneva convention of 1906, or of the Hague Convention No. X of 1907, as binding on the United States in the present war, is, nevertheless, willing by agreement to adopt, as a modus vivendi, the principles laid down in articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23 of the Geneva convention and articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, first two paragraphs, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 of the Hague convention, on the basis of complete reciprocity by the German Government subject, however, to the following stipulations:

(1)
Instead of the allowances and pay provided by article 13 of the Geneva convention of 1906, and the third paragraph of article 10 of the Hague Convention No. X of 1907, each Government will secure to the personnel of the other referred to therein, [Page 49] and remaining in its power, the same allowances and pay that the German Government furnishes persons of corresponding grade or rank in its own Army or Navy.
(2)
The persons included in the sanitary or spiritual personnel under articles 9 and 10 of the Geneva convention of 1906, namely, male and female nurses, doctors, pharmacists, stretcher bearers, chaplains, officers of sanitary administration, doctors’ orderlies, administrative officers of the sanitary service, and similar persons, the personnel of such voluntary aid societies as either state may have recognized and authorized and whose names have been duly notified to the other state; and the officers and other conducting personnel of movable sanitary formations mentioned in article 14 of said convention, as well as the religious, medical and hospital staffs of either sex of captured ships, referred to in article 10 of the Hague Convention No. X of 1907, now held, or who may hereafter be held by either state, shall be repatriated when their assistance is no longer indispensable to the immediate care and treatment of the prisoners of war taken by the forces of the other state; and such repatriated personnel shall not, after their return, be employed by their own Government in other than the capacities in which they were engaged.

As soon as the Government of the United States shall have been notified that the German Government accepts the above propositions and is taking steps for the release of the sanitary and spiritual personnel of the American forces in its power, it will proceed to take steps to effect the repatriation of the sanitary personnel of the crews of the interned German war vessels which are now in its hands, as well as the sanitary personnel from Tsing-Tau.

The Government of the United States is not disposed to comply with the proposal of the German Government that there be included within the contemplated arrangement the doctors and clergymen held by both states when such doctors and clergymen do not belong to the military or naval, sanitary or spiritual personnel.

Further request Spanish Embassy to inform German Government that a statement indicating corresponding ranks of the American and German sanitary personnel follows by mail.1

Lansing
  1. Not printed.↩