840.48 Refugees/4462: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

5885. Your 5982, September 9. Considering the military situation in Italy at the present time, it would not seem to be possible for the Italian Government to take steps to ensure the safety of the refugees in question. There therefore remains only the possibility, unless the refugees should be able to succeed in escaping into Spain which seems very unlikely under present circumstances, of their crossing into Switzerland. Before proceeding to take up with the various agencies concerned here the Director’s proposals for facilitating the refugees’ entry into and maintenance in Switzerland, it would seem to us to be advisable to obtain beforehand a definition of the Swiss Government’s attitude toward the proposed reception of the refugees and a statement of the conditions under which it would be willing to receive and maintain the refugees pending such further disposition of them as may subsequently be made by the Intergovernmental Committee. Toward that end we suggest that the British Government instruct its Minister at Bern to approach the Swiss Government at the same time informing us when we will instruct our Minister there to join with his British colleague in the approach. If the British will be willing to act in the immediate future this Government will be prepared to do so simultaneously.