711.62114 Sick/40 4/10

The Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of State

Dear Mr. Secretary: Subsequent to Admiral Leahy’s letter to you on 27 July 194314 on the subject of concerted action by the British and American Governments with respect to the repatriation of seriously sick and seriously wounded prisoners of war, representatives [Page 64] of the British Army and of the United States Army have conferred and reached an agreement for concerted action by the two governments with respect to the German proposal. It is proposed that the agreement be implemented by parallel replies to Germany as set forth in the attached draft.15 A representative of your department and a representative of the British Embassy were present and were consulted in arriving at this agreement.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that if the action proposed in the enclosure herewith has the approval of the State Department, appropriate reply now be made to the proposal of the German Government, and that the British Government be informed of the action taken.

As soon as the reply to the German Government is prepared, the War Department proposes to inform General Eisenhower of the action taken and to request that, after consultation with Admiral Cunningham,16 he notify the British Foreign Office what port in Northwest Africa shall be designated for the return of repatriable German prisoners held in that area.

It has also been agreed that the small central organization proposed by the British and recommended in Admiral Leahy’s letter of 27 July be established in London to complete the administrative arrangements necessary to accomplish the proposed repatriation. The War Department intends to make available two officers for duty with the London group. The completion of the arrangements will require some correspondence through diplomatic channels, and it will therefore be helpful if an official of the American Embassy in London can be designated to serve with the group. Instructions to our joint representatives with the London organization will be prepared by the War Department and coordinated with the State Department prior to transmittal.

Both British and United States representatives have agreed that no reply should be made at this time to the similar proposal received from the Italian Government, but that the question of the advisability of such reply at this time should be submitted to Allied Force Headquarters in North Africa and their recommendations obtained before any further action is taken with respect to Italians.

Sincerely yours,

For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
John R. Deane

Brigadier General, GSC Secretary
  1. Adm. William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy; letter not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Adm. Andrew Cunningham, British Naval Commander of Allied Expeditionary Force in North Africa.