811.2222 (1940)/133

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Raymund T. Yingling, Assistant to the Legal Adviser ( Hackworth )

Participants: Mr. Karl Resenberg, First Secretary, German Embassy;
Mr. Leverich, Eu;10
Mr. Yingling, Le.11

Mr. Resenberg called by appointment to discuss the liability of German nationals in the United States to military service under the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940.

He pointed out that the Embassy’s note of November 25, 1940 had taken the position that German nationals in the United States were exempt from military service in peace time under the provisions of Article VI of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights of December 8, 1923 and that as they had no reply from this Department indicating a contrary view, German consuls in the United States were instructed to advise German nationals of their right to exemption under the treaty provisions. He stated that a number of such claims to exemption had been turned down by local draft boards and that one German national who had attempted to leave the country without responding to a call for military service under the act was now in jail. He indicated that it was the desire of the German Government to have its nationals conform to American law and that had the Embassy been advised that this Government did not concur in the view of the German Government as to the effect of Article VI of the treaty, it would not have advised its nationals in the sense indicated.

I stated to Mr. Resenberg that I regretted that the Department had been unable to give the Embassy any definite answer to the questions raised in its note of November 25 but that the agency of the Government charged with the administration of the Selective Service Act was a new organization and that it took some time to work out the many problems connected with a new task of the magnitude of the Selective Service Program. I added that the Department had taken no position concerning the meaning of Article VI of the treaty since the appropriate authority of the Government considered that alien declarants in the United States were liable to service under the act even should they be exempt from such service under the provisions of treaties with their governments, but that the Department in connection with the other agencies of the Government having an interest in the Selective Service law was endeavoring to work out a solution which, if possible, [Page 568] would enable the Government to honor its treaty obligations and also carry out the mandates of Congress. I stated that we expected to have some solution of the problem in the near future, when we would again communicate with the Embassy, but that in the meantime I would informally endeavor to see what could be done to have cases of the kind referred to by the German Embassy held in abeyance until a solution was worked out.

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  1. Division of European Affairs.
  2. Office of the Legal Adviser.