File No. 763.72114/4090

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

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a memorandum dated September 12, 1918, from the Acting Secretary of War (O.C.S., E.D.; submitting a copy of a telegram received from General Pershing recommending that enemy officer prisoners of war, captured by the forces of the United States, should be sent to the United States. In the memorandum under acknowledgment, my recommendations are requested with reference to the action as proposed.

In reply, I have the honor to inform you that so far as German enemy officer prisoners of war are concerned, and I assume that this is the class to whom your action would apply, I perceive no objection to their being brought to this country to be held as prisoners of war here, under the terms of article 24 of the treaty of 1799 between the United States and Prussia (revived by article 12 of the treaty of 1828) in which it is provided that prisoners of war taken by one party from the other “shall be placed in some parts of their dominions in Europe or America, in wholesome situations.” It is clear that under this express provision, German enemy officer prisoners of war can be sent to the United States, if that is considered desirable.

As far as officer prisoners of war captured from Austria-Hungary by the forces of the United States are concerned, it is probable that they also can be sent to this country in the absence of any treaty restriction.

I shall be pleased to be informed by you if you decide to take the course indicated, and also to be advised as to the numbers of enemy officer prisoners thus brought into this country and the camps in which they are placed.

I have [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
William Phillips

Assistant Secretary