740.00115 European War 1939/313: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Kennedy) to the Secretary of State

695. Department’s 522, March 19, 7 p.m. Communication between the Embassy at Berlin and the Australian Government concerning the detention of German and Australian women has hitherto been effected through both Embassy and the British Foreign Office. The substance of the Department’s telegram under reference except as concerns males was communicated to this Embassy in a Foreign Office note of March 5 and immediately telegraphed to Berlin. In response to a further telegram from Berlin dated March 11 stating that the Australian women detained in Germany had been released and would be permitted to leave the country as soon as the German women detained in Australia were permitted to return to Germany, the following telegram was sent to Berlin tinder date of March 19:

“100, March 19, noon, British interests. Your 95, March 11, 10 a.m. A Foreign Office note of March 18 states that the contents of your telegram under reference were communicated to the Australian Government and requests you to inform the German Government that it will place no restrictions on the return of any German woman to Germany if she so wishes. It continues: [Page 198]

‘Of the seven German women previously interned who have been at liberty for at least 3 weeks four do not wish to leave Australia. Of the remaining three, one is actually applying for formal permission to leave which will be granted, another is seeking the consent of her husband to her return and the third although at liberty to leave does not wish to do so.

In these circumstances His Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth of Australia expect that the Australian women now detained in Germany will at once be allowed to go free and they would be glad if the German Government could be reminded that whereas out of 2,160 German women in Australia only seven were interned and have been for several weeks at liberty, a considerably higher proportion of the fewer Australian women in Germany were interned and are still being detained.[’]”

Unless the Department has particular reasons for wishing to deal with Australian interests in Germany through the Consulate General at Sydney the procedure hitherto followed would appear preferable. It is certainly more expeditious.