File No. 811.2226/172

The Secretary of State to the French Ambassador ( Jusserand )

No. 2164

Excellency: Referring to your note of January 26 last and subsequent notes1 looking to an understanding with respect to the treatment to be accorded to deserters and absentees from the United States and French military forces in France I have the honor to inform you that I am authorized by the President, as Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States, to propose to you an arrangement by an exchange of notes as follows:

It is understood by the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the French Republic that the civil [Page 746] and military authorities of the French Republic are authorized and requested to arrest any soldier belonging to military forces of the United States in France who is absent in desertion or who, being absent from his proper command, is unable to produce proper evidence of authority for such absence in the form of a furlough, a leave of absence, a detail on special duty, or other proper official documents fixing his status, and to return the said soldier to the appropriate military authority of the army to which he belongs, as well as to arrest and return to the proper military authority of the army to which he belongs, any soldier belonging to the military forces of the United States in France who is guilty of disorder or other infractions of law or regulations. Similarly it is understood by the two Governments that the military authorities of the American Expeditionary Forces in France are authorized and requested to arrest any soldier belonging to the Army of the French Republic who is absent in desertion, or, who, being absent from his proper command cannot produce authority for such absence in the form of a furlough, a leave of absence, a detail on special duty, or other proper official documents fixing his status, and to return the said soldier to the proper military authority of the army to which he belongs, as well as to arrest and return to the appropriate military authority of the army to which he belongs any soldier of the French Army who is guilty of disorder or other infractions of law or regulations, it being understood, however, by the two Governments that the military authorities of the American Expeditionary Forces in France are placed under no obligation to return to the French authorities any men in the American Expeditionary Forces who failed to join the French colors or who deserted the French Army prior to the entry of the United States into the war, but that the military authorities of the American Expeditionary Forces in France will return to the French military authorities men belonging to the American Expeditionary Forces in France who have or shall have deserted from the French Army since the entry of the United States into the war.

Should this arrangement be acceptable to the Government of the French Republic your formal notification in writing to that effect will be understood on the part of the Government of the United States as completing the arrangement and putting it into force and effect, and I shall be glad to receive your assurance that it will be so understood also on the part of the Government of the French Republic.

Accept [etc.]

Robert Lansing
  1. Note of Jan. 26 printed ante, p. 738; note of Mar. 3 printed ante, p. 740.