740.00115 European War 1939/139: Telegram

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

2782. Department’s 1409, November 17, 5 p.m.65 Foreign Office’s note of November 12 reads in translation as follows:

“In its aide-mémoire number 2128 of October 3, 1939, the American Embassy informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the point of view of the Department of State on the treatment to be accorded enemy civilians interned at the outbreak of war or during hostilities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the honor to inform the American Embassy that the suggestions of the American Government have been studied with the greatest care by the French Government, which pays tribute to the generous initiative of President Roosevelt and which is entirely in agreement with the humanitarian considerations which make it desirable, insofar as possible, to effect the repatriation of civilians.

Consequently the Ministry has already advised the American Embassy by a note of October 25, 1939, that it is favorably disposed to an exchange, on the basis of strict reciprocity, involving women and children under 15 years of age.

Anxious to demonstrate its good will and its desire to meet, insofar as circumstances permit, the wish expressed by the American Government, the French Government is prepared to complete in the following manner the proposals which have already been communicated to the Embassy and on which the German Government does not appear yet to have taken a stand: The contemplated exchange might also include children 15 and 16 years of age, men over 65 and cripples and the incurably sick whatever their age.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be much obliged were the Embassy at Paris to bring the foregoing to the knowledge of the Washington Government and if it sees fit inform the German Government.”

  1. Not printed.