340.1115A/1948: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Hungary (Pell)

203. Reference Travers’7 telephone conversation with Davis8 on April 27 regarding Americans in Belgrade.

You will of course render all possible and proper assistance to Americans who of themselves may request your help in leaving Belgrade. However, you should not undertake any financial commitments whatsoever in their behalf as neither the Department nor the Red Cross is in a position to maintain them abroad. In this connection you should bear in mind that should they be brought into Hungary, the Hungarian authorities would undoubtedly expect that provision will be made for their support. With respect to their repatriation, which would not seem possible for the present, the Red Cross considers repatriation a matter of governmental concern while the Department considers and has continually stated that Congress has not provided funds for repatriation of Americans abroad at government expense and that Americans are expected to provide their own funds for repatriation, from their own resources or from those obtained from relatives, friends or employers in the United States whom the Department, if desired, will approach in their behalf for the desired funds. The Department has shown its concern for Americans in Yugoslavia, as well as elsewhere in Europe, by having issued warnings to them through its officers before the spread of hostilities, that they should return home while the opportunity remained. It continues to be concerned about those who have nevertheless remained but it cannot, as stated, undertake to maintain them abroad nor provide repatriation funds for them. While the Department has on occasion when necessary and possible allotted funds for loans against promissory notes to Americans for repatriation expenses, it is not in a position at present to make such funds available in Yugoslavia.

The Department will be glad to be kept advised regarding the situation of the Americans in Yugoslavia and to receive any feasible suggestion for their assistance.

  1. Howard K. Travers, First Secretary of Legation in Hungary.
  2. Norman H. Davis, Chairman of the American Red Cross.