Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Long)

Sir Ronald Campbell came in today to bring the answer of his Government, which is attached.32 Sir Ronald stated his Government accepted [Page 419] in principle and called attention to the three points at the last of the memorandum, first, the British retain the right to reject any name submitted for safe conduct; second, that the person should be shipped via Bermuda and be subject to interrogation and to search of baggage, and third, that the arrangement would expire after the 31st of December.

In addition to that, I called his attention to the last few lines of the paragraph immediately preceding the numbered conditions which said that “these safe conducts33 should definitely be arranged before any safe conducts are granted to Italian or German nationals to leave the United States.”

I explained that they must, and I assumed did, refer to the “arrangements” and not to the departures, but that it ought to be definitely understood because the other governments would probably want the exchange made simultaneously. I agreed that the arrangements should be made before any persons left the United States.

I called attention also to the second point about interrogation of persons and search of baggage. I said that our Government was thoroughly able to do that and would have an interest in doing it. We would ask the British Government to recede from that position and take the certification of the American authorities that there would be and eventually that there had been adequate search and interrogation. I continued to the effect that they would probably not attempt to carry anything because most of them could go to their Embassies today or communicate any information or deliver any memorandum they might have, and that they would prefer to do that rather than carry anything incriminating on their persons.

Sir Ronald said that he understood and appreciated the position and that he would cable his Government and I agreed to wait until Monday before I talked to the Germans and Italians so that he might have an opportunity to have an answer.

B[reckinridge] L[ong]
  1. Note from the British Embassy dated September 9, 1941, not printed.
  2. Safe conducts for British subjects in Finland who had gone there as volunteers to fight for Finland in 1939–40.