851.4016/19: Telegram

The Chargé in Germany (Morris) to the Secretary of State

4711. Department’s 2972, November 8, 7 p.m. Before taking this matter up with the Foreign Office I should like to invite the Department’s attention to the following considerations.

As the Department is aware the German Government does not now look with undivided favor on the maintenance of our Foreign Service establishments in German occupied territories and the position of these establishments as mentioned in my telegrams 4378 [4373?], October 18, 4 p.m., and 4545, October 31, 5 p.m.34 cannot be considered as entirely secure.

There is, I fear, a possibility that the transmission of a note such as that contained in the Department’s telegram under reference would not serve to improve the position of our representatives in Paris and might thereby eventually operate to the disadvantage of those same American citizens in whose interests the step is being taken and who would be largely dependent on the effective support of our representatives on the spot in the event that any difficulties should arise for them out of the operation of the ordinances in question. Viewing the problem from the light of the situation here I feel that the Government of the United States would be better served if we were to confine ourselves initially to the transmission of a brief communication to the Foreign Office mentioning the reported tenor of the ordinance and expressing the expectation that it will not be applied in a manner prejudicial to the interests of American citizens. Should any actual cases of application of the provisions of this ordinance to Americans be established we would then be in a position to protest strongly and to back up such protest with the arguments set forth in the Department’s draft note.

In accordance with the above I should like to propose the following draft of a note to be submitted to the Foreign Office in preference to that cited in the Department’s telegram under reference.

[Page 570]

“Under instructions from my Government I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that my Government’s attention has been called to a press item concerning an ordinance dated September 27, 1940 and signed by the Head of the Military Administration in France for the Commander in Chief of the Army which among other things is said to require the registration of Jews and the posting on Jewish enterprises of signs indicating the Jewish character of the enterprise.

“My Government is confident that any such ordinance which may have been issued will not be applied in such a way as to damage or prejudice the interests of citizens of the United States who are Jews.”

For purposes of clarity it would be desirable to cite the exact press organ in which the ordinance appeared.

  1. Neither printed.