702.0000/1: Telegram

The Chargé at Algiers (Chapin) to the Secretary of State

2027. From Murphy. Joint Intelligence Committee has discussed desirability of modifying present AFHQ directive which sets forth that enemy Consulates in territory occupied by Allied Military Forces shall remain immune from entry and search. Military intelligence representatives, American as well as British, expressed view that a not [Page 1485]inconsiderable amount of valuable information might be obtained on premises of enemy Consulates in territory yet to be occupied by our forces in this theater of operations.

Committee was told by a member of my staff that the directive in its present form represents the considered views of Department (reference Department’s 137, January 14, 8 p.m.) but that inasmuch as the directive had been originally drawn up with only Rome in mind one could not exclude possibility that a somewhat modified formula might be acceptable with respect to Consular premises in satellite countries. Inasmuch as military members of Committee were intent on having the subject reviewed it was decided to submit question to Combined Chiefs of Staff for their consideration and it is anticipated that a telegram in this sense will go forward to Combined Chiefs within next day or two. [Murphy.]


[On June 20, 1944, the Combined Chiefs of Staff received telegram Naf 724 from the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean, General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson. The pertinent section reads in paraphrase as follows:

  • “1. Enemy consulates are likely to contain considerable potential intelligence value, among which are:
    Information of immediate value to counter intelligence organizations.
    Reports on industrial and commercial matters which affect supply position in country which official represents.
    Indications of further sources of information.
    Reports relating to official and commercial activities between two countries.
    Evidence of methods of German economic control.
    Intelligence on ports, shipping, imports, exports, industrial and agricultural production, transport, distribution and finance.
  • 2. Existing instructions, framed for occupation of Rome, accord, at request of US State Department, immunity from entry and search to enemy consulates.
  • Submit that with view to future operations it is desirable to consider reversal of this policy.”

The Combined Chiefs of Staff, in JCS Directive 1011, August 19, 1944, not printed, announced that they were unable to advise General Wilson due to the inability of the British members to agree upon a proposed response. An interim policy, however, was recommended: acceptance of the policy statement submitted by the Secretary of State to the Secretary of War on March 10, 1944, printed on page 1479, with the reservation that theater commanders were at liberty to disregard consular immunities in the event the security of their forces was threatened.]