840.48 Refugees/2929: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Tuck) to the Secretary of State15

827. Belgian interests. Embassy’s 603, April 23, 2 p.m. The possible payment of relief to Belgians by American Consulates in unoccupied France was informally discussed with a competent Foreign Office official. The Germans are apparently completing an investigation of the Belgian, Dutch and other offices with particular reference to the source of their funds. They are opposed to the distribution [Page 460] by the offices of funds received from the governments in exile in the belief that such funds strengthen resistance to Germany. German pressure for the elimination of the offices has not yet been too strong to resist except in the case of the Polish offices where the decisive factor appears to have been the fact that Germany has already decided that in the event of an Axis victory there will be no Poland.

The problem of the continued existence of the various offices is extremely delicate. A formal request for the French Government’s assent to the Belgian Government’s proposal might cause or hasten the abolishing of the Belgian and other offices in the event that the French Government should decide to consult the Germans before reaching a decision.

The Foreign Office official consulted stated that the problem is further complicated by the fact that when the United States assumed the protection of Belgian interests, it was a neutral but that it is now a belligerent. He was unable to indicate what reply the French Government would make to a formal request for its assent to the Belgian Government’s proposal.

He suggested that the possibility making relief payments to Belgians through a private organization such as the American Red Cross be examined.

The Department’s instructions are requested as to whether the Embassy should formally ask the French Government for its assent to this proposal.

  1. Paraphrase communicated to the Belgian Ambassador by the Department in note dated June 22, 1942.