702.6211/1210

The Acting Secretary of State to the German Chargé (Thomsen)

Sir: I refer to your note of July 12, 1940, in which you state that there has been interference by American postal and customs officials with mail addressed to German consular officers in the United States. Reference is also made to my preliminary reply of July 31, 1940.3

I am informed that instructions have been issued providing that under General Ruling No. 5 of the Treasury Department, dated June 6, 1940, there shall be no examination of the following: (1) Sealed letters addressed to a consular officer by his Government or by a diplomatic officer or another consular officer of his Government and bearing [Page 668]the official seal of his Government; (2) official consular pouches; and (3) packages addressed to a consular officer bearing the official seal of his Government and accompanied by certificates under such seal to the effect that they contain only official communications or documents. These exceptions apply alike to the consular officers of all nations. In no event are officials of this Government authorized to read mail in connection with the administration of General Ruling No. 5.

Accept [etc.]

Sumner Welles
  1. Not printed; it stated that the German note was being transmitted to the appropriate authorities for consideration.