711.62114 Sick/40 3/10

Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. E. T. Bailey of the Special Division

Participants: General Gepp of the British War Office; Mr. John Russell of the British Embassy, Washington; General White, Chief of G–l of the United States Army; Major Bernays of G–l; Mr. Bernard Gufler and Mr. Bailey of the Special Division.

At Major Bernay’s request Mr. Gufler and Mr. Bailey attended a meeting at the War Department concerning the repatriation from Germany of seriously sick and seriously wounded prisoners of war and of surplus protected personnel. The results of this conference were embodied in a message drafted to be sent by the British Embassy at Washington to the British Foreign Office reporting an agreement between the British and American military authorities and quoting that text of the similar notes which it was recommended should be transmitted to the German Government by the British and American Governments through the protecting Power. It was decided that copies of this document would be forwarded to General Eisenhower in North Africa for his information with the explanation that similar replies would not be made to the Italian proposals regarding the repatriation of seriously sick and seriously wounded prisoners of war and of surplus sanitary personnel until General Eisenhower had given his opinion as to whether it would be well advised to forward such replies in view of the present political and military situation in Italy.

During the conference the problem of who was to report the names of (a) seriously sick and seriously wounded prisoners of war and (b) the surplus protected personnel now in North Africa was discussed. It was decided to inform General Eisenhower that the names of approximately half of the persons in each category should be forwarded by him to each Government so that both the British and American Governments would be able to report names in each category.

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The date on which the prospective exchange could take place was discussed. Because of the technical difficulties that must still be solved and the feeling that an earlier attempt by the British and German Governments to exchange seriously sick and seriously wounded prisoners of war was unsuccessful due partly at least to a time limitation. It was decided that neither the British nor American Governments would suggest any date for the proposed exchange in the replies which are to be made to the German Government’s proposal.

General Gepp pointed out that the arrangements which are being made were to cover the possible repatriation of all British and American prisoners of war in German and Italian hands and all German and Italian prisoners of war in British and American hands. He went on to state that there was one little uncompleted matter with Italy, however, which the British Government desired to pursue outside the scope of the arrangements which he was making with the American Government.

While Mr. Gufler and Major Bernays were out of the room discussing another matter, General Gepp expressed the hope that the American and British Governments would be able to convince the Latin-American Governments which have declared war upon the Axis Governments that the Latin-American Governments should take some of the prisoners of war who it is expected will fall into the custody of the United Nations in the near future. Mr. Bailey explained that the Government of the United States had removed many civilian internees from Latin-American countries because it was not satisfied that these persons would remain interned if they were left in the custody of the Latin-American authorities. He also stated that he understood that negotiations were going on with Brazil with a view to the internment in Brazil of Axis prisoners of war taken at sea. He stated that he did not, however, know how far these negotiations had progressed.