300.11 General Program/274a: Telegram

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

52. From telegrams received from some offices in Europe the Department fears that the provisions of paragraphs 20 and 21 of the circular instruction of March 21, 1939 restricting the use of official funds to advances against promissory notes in certain exceptional circumstances such as when bank and communication facilities are not available, have been misinterpreted. There is no intention to and no provision for departing from the well established procedure of this Government in the matter of repatriation. While this Government has been and is continuing to make every effort to assist private shipping to provide transportation facilities and the organization of the Department at home and abroad is available for the transmission of messages and remittances of funds, the primary responsibility for financing their subsistence and movements rests on individual American citizens abroad or on their relatives and friends in this country.

The Department is prepared to communicate promptly to relatives and friends in this country requests for funds transmitted through our offices abroad and to make the remittances through the same channel.

The provision for advances of official funds against promissory notes is as stated in the circular of March 21, 1939 to be used as a last resort only.

The foregoing procedure is essential because of existing limitations on the use of appropriated funds available to the Department. Therefore chiefs of missions and consular officers should restrict requests for funds to be advanced to American citizens to the requirements of those who it is established have no funds and for whom the Department is unable to obtain any from friends and relatives here, and for similar emergencies.

Repeat to all missions.