740.00115A European War 1939/111a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Harrison)69

880. As it now appears that it may be possible to accommodate on the exchange vessel from Lisbon to New York, particularly on its first return voyage, some American nationals from other than Axis territory in Europe, telegraph as soon as possible estimate of number Americans in Switzerland who may wish to use this means of return to United States if available. Indicate also probable length advance notice required in order to inform them in time for them to complete necessary formalities and reach Lisbon.

Following information is to assist you in answering inquiries:

Fares from Lisbon to New York: $300 for adults; half fare for children 1 to 10 years; $22 for infants; $28 for pets; $5 per cage [Page 353] for birds. Free baggage space for non-official passengers—26 cubic feet for adults, proportionate for children. Excess baggage chargeable at 85 cents per cubic foot.
Fares must be paid in dollars to American Export Lines, New York. Department will be pleased to receive through Swiss channels for persons in enemy territory and through diplomatic missions elsewhere requests from intending passengers that funds for their passage be deposited with Export Lines and to transmit such messages to persons or firms in this country. Respecting payment of passage for persons unable to arrange from Europe for payment in advance, see 4 below.
Bona fide American citizens may be accompanied by the following so far as local authorities are agreeable: (a) alien spouses; (b) alien children; (c) alien parents where presence of parent is essential for welfare of child; (d) medical attendant or nurse where presence of such employee is certified by responsible medical authority as essential to health of traveler, consideration being given to presence of qualified medical officers on vessel. So far as feasible cases of aliens should be telegraphed Department in advance for decision regarding their documentation at Lisbon for entry into the United States.
Non-official American nationals desiring to take passage on the exchange vessel who are unable from their own resources to finance their return, and who are unable to arrange to have relatives, friends or employers in the United States finance their return, may be granted loans against their promissory notes in accordance with the provisions of diplomatic serial 3382 of August 12, 1941,70 provided that applications for loans of those not in possession of the documentary evidence of citizenship mentioned in paragraph 10 of Diplomatic Serial no. 3451 of February 17, 1942,71 should, as concerns such nationals in enemy territory, be referred for decision to the American Legation at Bern in the same manner provided in paragraph 11 of Diplomatic Serial 3451 for other types of financial assistance, and as concerns nationals in other countries to the American Mission in each country. Loans advanced under this authorization should be sufficient only to meet incidental expenses in reaching Lisbon where, if other funds have not been provided for them, such persons will be asked to sign additional promissory notes for their ocean passage.
Bequests for allotment of funds for this purpose elsewhere than in Axis territory will be given prompt attention. Repatriation loans by Swiss representatives for expenses to Lisbon will be considered [Page 354] as final payments of financial assistance under Diplomatic Serial 3451 and should be accounted for accordingly without special allotment.
Swiss representatives should be informed for communication to American nationals within their respective jurisdiction that Department is disposed to terminate financial assistance to those American citizens physically able to make the journey who fail to return to this country when given this final opportunity for repatriation.

Repeat mutatis mutandis to Vichy, Madrid and Lisbon, and all but introductory paragraph to Swiss Government for information and guidance of its representatives at Berlin, Rome, Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia, Copenhagen, Oslo and elsewhere in Axis territory in Europe.

  1. Similar telegram sent on May 14, 1942, to the Minister in Switzerland (No. 1246) for transmission to Swiss representatives in the Far East for communication to American citizens who were to be repatriated on the exchange vessel from Lourenço Marques.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. i, p. 413.
  3. See Department’s instruction No. 1202, February 14, to the Chargé in Switzerland, p. 262, and footnote 23.