740.00115 European War 1939/28: Telegram
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Kennedy) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 23—2:50 p.m.]
From Brussels: 48, September 23, 10 a.m.
42, September 22, 5 p.m. Notify Foreign Office. Repeat to Department. An official of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed a member of this Embassy that the treatment of German nationals including consular officers in Egypt which the Germans consider had been provoked by British intervention [apparent omission] Egyptian authorities had brought about internment of certain British subjects in Germany. Previously there had been no German intention to intern Britisn subjects in this country but upon receipt from Egypt of word regarding action taken by the Egyptian authorities against German nationals the attitude of the German officials had changed. The official read excerpts from a memorandum regarding acts committed in Egypt against German citizens stating that the German Legation at Cairo had been surrounded by police and that German citizens attempting to enter the premises had been arrested to the number of about 90. Of these only 17 were still under detention but this number included 2 German consular officers who had been imprisoned or interned. Moreover the premises of the Deutsche bank in Cairo had been invaded and the employees arrested and similar actions had taken place in the German Archaeological Institute. A German building had been damaged and German citizens had been badly treated during their confinement.
The official said that treatment similar to that accorded German citizens in Egypt had according to information received from Iraq occurred in that country although neither the Iraq people nor Government had been interested in placing restrictions on German citizens or their property. Somewhat similar word had been received from the Straits Settlements and India.
The official then inquired if it might be possible for the British Government to give assurances that all German citizens in the British Empire might be allowed to depart on or after a specified day and if they would receive guarantees that they would not be hindered from [Page 641] returning to Germany or some neutral country contiguous to Germany. The official said that if some date were not fixed, the question of who was to make the initial move toward repatriating the citizens of the other party might drag on indefinitely and accordingly, it was important that a definite day should be determined for the departure of the citizens of Germany in British territory and for the departure of British subjects from German territory. The Germans wished assurances not only that Germans in the United Kingdom would be allowed to depart but that Germans in Egypt, Iraq, India, the Straits Settlements and other parts of the British Empire would also be allowed to regain their country without hindrance. The official added that if the British authorities in individual cases could give special reasons for refusing to allow a given German to depart from their territory such action would not endanger the plan for the repatriation of the nationals of the respective countries but intimated that a proposal for an exchange of Germans for an equal number of British would meet with opposition.
Should appreciate the views of the British Government on the foregoing matter as soon as possible, with reference to my telegram No. 33, September 16, noon. Kirk. Davies.
Am advising Foreign Office.