711.62114 Sick/30: Telegram

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

5702. Repatriation sick and wounded—Europe. Your 6070, September 13, 8 p.m.21 Department has received in a note dated September 11 from Swiss Legation, Washington, a similar response from German Government to this Government’s reply to German proposals regarding repatriation of sick and wounded prisoners of war.

War Department has transmitted substance of German Government’s reply to Commanding Generals in North African and European [Page 70] Theaters of Operations and has asked Commanding General in North Africa to compile a list, of the nature requested by the German Government, mentioned in point D of your telegram, of the German prisoners of war and protected personnel in North Africa to be repatriated by the United States and to forward it to the Combined Repatriation Committee at London. A similar list of the German repatriables held in the United States will be transmitted to Committee by War Department, Washington. War Department has recommended to Commanding General, European Theater23 that Committee consolidate these lists for transmission by you to American Legation at Bern for forwarding to German Government.

Department is requesting Swiss Minister, Washington, to ask his Government to request from German Government a similar list of American prisoners of war and protected personnel to be repatriated and to have his Government give a copy of this list when received to American Legation at Bern which has been requested to transmit it to you for Committee.

British Chargé d’Affaires Washington who has not as yet been informed that a reply has been received from German Government in this regard is recommending to British Foreign Office that British Government take similar action so that action can be taken by British and United States Governments simultaneously.

With regard to the assurance requested by the German Government, mentioned in point C of your telegram, concerning which the British Foreign Office telegraphed General Eisenhower, Department has been informed by War Department that British authorities in North Africa have telegraphed British War Office to the effect that the French authorities have agreed to the inclusion in this proposed exchange of German prisoners of war and protected personnel in their custody who are eligible for repatriation and that the British authorities in North Africa have stated that the German Government can be assured that seriously sick and seriously wounded German prisoners of war and protected personnel in North Africa who are qualified for repatriation will include as well those persons not held by the British or United States authorities. The Swiss Minister Washington has been informed that the German Government can be assured accordingly.

It is stated in penultimate paragraph of your telegram that British War Office, in its telegram to General Eisenhower, has stated that the Combined Repatriation Committee had pointed out that, when negotiations were initiated, all prisoners of war taken in Tunisia were to be considered as prisoners of the American armed forces and that negotiations have been carried out on that basis. Department and War Department [Page 71] have no knowledge of such an arrangement and would appreciate clarification of this statement.

Department notes in last paragraph Committee has selected tentative date of October 9 for the exchange. Since it is impossible at this time to determine how soon the German repatriables held by this Government in the United States and North Africa can be concentrated and embarked you should notify Committee not to commit itself to this date or any other date pending further instructions from War Department.

Department and War Department are coordinating with the Canadian Government with regard to the repatriation and shipping of German repatriables from United States and Canada to United Kingdom, and the return of Canadian and American nationals to United States and Canada.

Other matters set forth in German Government’s reply are receiving consideration and a reply with regard to them will be made to the Swiss Minister at the earliest opportunity. Department will keep you informed of any action taken.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.