740.00116 European War 1939/1147a: Telegram

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

2681. According to the Italian High Command a division of Italian troops in Montenegro has been called upon by the Germans to surrender on threat of treatment as Francs-Tireurs unless complied with. Allied military authorities in Italy are of the opinion that prompt action should be taken to forestall, if possible, any such German action.

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It has been decided by the British and American Governments that for the time being our action should be limited to a warning to the German Government through the Representing Power. Consequently, you should concert with your British colleague and request the Swiss Government to transmit a warning to the German Government along the following lines:

The Government of the United States of America warns the German Government that it will hold personally responsible for his action any German authority who treats otherwise than in accordance with the laws of war members of the armed forces of any of the countries fighting at the side of the United States against Germany, including members of the Italian armed forces.

You should report telegraphically when this communication has been made to the German Government.29

  1. The Minister in Switzerland reported in his telegram No. 7051, November 10, 1943, 5 p.m., that the note had been delivered to the Swiss on November 8 and that his British colleague had taken similar action (740.00116 European War 1939/1151). In telegram No. 7350, November 22, 6 p.m., he reported that the note had been delivered to the German Government on November 17 (740.00116 European War 1939/1163).