740.00116 European War 1939/1016

The British Ambassador (Halifax) to the Secretary of State

No. 492

His Majesty’s Ambassador presents his compliments to the Secretary of State and has the honor to inform him that, as a result of developments in Italy and the consequent danger that Mussolini and perhaps other prominent Fascists may attempt to take refuge in a neutral country, His Majesty’s Government are proposing to issue instructions to His Majesty’s Representatives at Berne, Madrid, Lisbon, Buenos Aires, the Vatican, Stockholm and Ankara, that they should present notes to the respective Governments to which they are accredited, conveying a warning in the following terms.

“In view of developments in Italy and possibility that Mussolini and other prominent Fascists and persons guilty of war crimes may attempt to take refuge in neutral territory His Majesty’s Government feels obliged to call upon all neutral countries to refuse asylum to any such persons; and to declare they will regard any shelter, assistance or protection given such persons as a violation of the principles for which the United Nations are fighting and which they are determined to carry into effect by every means in their power.”

Lord Halifax has been instructed to express the urgent hope that the United States Government will find themselves in agreement with the action proposed by His Majesty’s Government, and will instruct their Representatives in the neutral countries concerned to join with His Majesty’s Representatives in conveying a warning in the terms proposed.

His Majesty’s Government are making a similar approach to the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Lord Halifax would be grateful for the favour of a very early reply.