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

After I had talked this afternoon with the Swiss Minister,14b he talked to Prince Colonna and then asked hurriedly to see me again. Upon the occasion of my second conference with him in the course of the afternoon, he said that Prince Colonna had asked him to present two points. First, that on the basis of reciprocity the Italians should not be assembled at White Sulphur Springs. If they were to be assembled and confined at some place, that he hoped they would be confined in a place other than the place where the Germans were confined, and that a hotel other than at White Sulphur Springs would be selected.

As regards the question of reciprocity, I told the Swiss Minister that I was quite conscious of the fact that the American diplomats in Rome were enjoying a status of liberty which the Italian Government could on a basis of reciprocity now curtail, and that the Italian Government was able to take a step which would reflect upon the comfort and convenience of our representatives, if they cared to act on the basis of reciprocity. Nevertheless the interest of national defense had determined the question and the decision had been made that the Italians would have to be placed under confinement.

As to the question of another hotel—I explained to the Minister that there were practically no hotels available; that all the hotels in the southern part of the United States were now enjoying their winter [Page 303] season; and that all the guests would have to be put out of the hotel to make place for those to be confined, because we could not have visitors and casual contacts with those confined. As regards the hotels in the north, there seemed to be none available. The administrative problem largely aided by having all of the diplomats in the general neighborhood, some at Hot Springs and some at White Sulphur Springs; that I was sure the Japanese were rather exclusively occupying the hotel at Hot Springs; that all that remained was the hotel at White Sulphur Springs. And I assured him that we would give them decent and comfortable treatment and that we would secure some assembly room other than that used by the Germans and would try to arrange for their exercise in a part of the park different from that used by the Germans.

B[reckinridge] L[ong]
  1. Charles Bruggmann.