The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Wallace)

No. 408

Sir: The Department acknowledges the receipt of your cable No. 88 of January 10, 1920,31 and your despatch No. 729 of January 15, 1920, in which the refusal of the French Government to give assurances to this Government that American citizens of French origin who have complied with the military service regulations of this Government during the war, will not be molested as military delinquents upon entering French jurisdiction for temporary sojourn, is set forth. You state in the cable that there are several cases, before the Embassy, of persons who would come within the class covered by the requested assurances, and ask instructions as to the line of action to be pursued in regard to them.

In reply the Department instructs you that insofar as any of the cases before the Embassy come within the assurances referred to in the Department’s note of August 3, 1918,32 to the French Ambassador [Page 941] at Washington, a copy of which was enclosed in the Department’s instruction No. 283 of November 22, 1919, to urge the treatment of such cases in accordance with the assurances given and to reserve the right of this Government to make further representations at a later date should it be deemed desirable. Insofar as any of the cases before the Embassy do not come within the assurances referred to, you are instructed to use your good offices in an endeavor to render the persons such assistance as may be possible and to take no action which would prejudice the right of this Government to make representations later should it desire to do so.

The Department desires to be furnished with a statement of the facts in any cases now pending with the Embassy in order that it may give the matter further consideration; also that you obtain from the French Government, and transmit to the Department at your earliest convenience, a copy of the notice stated in Mr. Herbette’s note of January 5, 1920, to have been given by a representative of the French Government at Washington in June 1917, in regard to the allowance that would be made in France, to persons who were regarded as French citizens, under the French law, but who had served in the military forces of the United States.

You will also kindly endeavor to ascertain, and report at your earliest convenience, the details of the agreement between the French and Italian Governments, which Mr. Herbette refers to, under which an allowance is said to be made under the French military establishment, for service performed by French citizens in Italy. The terms of the agreement, if any, insofar as they relate to persons who complied with the military service regulations of Italy but who were not accepted for service in the Italian Army, are particularly desired, as well as the provisions of the agreement, if any, as relate to persons who served in the Italian military establishment but who did not see active service with combat troops.

I am [etc.]

Bainbridge Colby