701.6511/1299b: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Switzerland (Huddle)24

494. American interests—Italy. Department’s 404, February 10. Please request Swiss Government to endeavor to obtain prompt confirmation from Italian Government of assumption by this Government that agreement in principle for exchange of officials has been reached.

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Unless there is a prompt change in the recalcitrant attitude of certain Italian and German officials, who, ignoring the desire of the Italian and German Governments expressed through the Swiss Government to this Government, do not wish to proceed to the United States for repatriation with the officials formerly accredited here, it will be impossible to fix any early date for the exchange vessel to leave an American port. This Government expects that the Italian Government will issue to its former representatives remaining in Peru, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic orders that they promptly avail themselves of the facilities for repatriation which this Government has been at great pains to provide for them.

It is also hoped that any views which the Italian Government may wish to express on the subject of the exchange will be communicated promptly in order that there may be no additional delay.

The Department will in the immediate future communicate the characteristics and course of the exchange vessel in order that the Italian Government may be in a position promptly to obtain as agreed from the belligerents friendly to it and to deposit with the Swiss Government the necessary assurances of safe conduct.

Department expects to place on board the exchange vessel all official Italian personnel with their families and employees formerly accredited to the United States, Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. There may likewise be placed on the vessel, if the American newspaper correspondents are permitted to leave Italy with the American official party, the Italian newspaper correspondents now in this country. The total number of officials (including newspaper correspondents) is estimated at 232. Furthermore, there may be embarked on the vessel three Italian subjects received from the Colombian Republic.

As soon as possible the Department will deliver to the Swiss Legation in charge of Italian interests a list of the persons who will, according to this Government’s understanding of the exchange agreement, be embarked on the vessel in order that the Swiss Legation may be able to verify that list and give the Italian Government such assurances as the latter may require regarding its completeness.

It is understood that the Brazilian Government will organize a separate repatriation of Axis European officials departing from Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The Department hopes that, after the exchange of official personnel has been completed, an exchange of non-official persons may be separately negotiated.

  1. Similar telegram, dated February 19, regarding American interests in Germany, to the Chargé in Switzerland (No. 485).