840.1115/1180: Telegram

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

75. Your 99, September 7, 11 a.m.18 American citizens are not to be considered destitute or last resort cases in the sense that assistance can be given by our Government for repatriation purposes until and unless family, friends or employers in this country have been found to be not in a position to advance funds or have refused to do so through direct or Departmental channels. Our officers abroad cannot be expected to be in a position to determine in many cases whether such Americans are actually destitute in this sense in the same way that the Department is able to do so here. In case of the refusal by friends, relatives or employers to advance funds directly or through this Department, the Department makes an investigation through its own channels of the capacity of the family to supply such funds.

You will appreciate that if such careful investigation is not made in each individual case before funds are advanced to an American citizen for repatriation it is only natural that the families and friends and even employers of Americans now abroad should refuse to transmit funds and endeavor to place the sole responsibility on this Government.

On the other hand our officers abroad are the only ones who can determine whether an American applying for relief is actually in need of funds for temporary subsistence as distinguished from transportation to the United States pending the receipt of funds from relatives, friends or employers or negative result of Department’s efforts to obtain them.

You are authorized to advance from such allotments as may be made to you for the purpose minimum sums required for such temporary subsistence against promissory notes as outlined in paragraphs 20, 21 and 22, circular March 21, 1939. The funds available to the Department are quite limited and will remain so until the Congress may appropriate additional sums. Telegraph minimum amount needed for your office on the foregoing basis in order that allotment may be made.

Please repeat this explanation of the Department’s policy to all offices.

  1. Not printed.