840.48 Refugees/4993: Telegram

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

327. For Department and FEA.4 Embassy’s 239, January 11 and despatch 11336, September 24, 1943.5 Following telegram was sent by MEW6 to British Legation, Bern, on January 12. Owing to an oversight EWD7 was not informed until telegram had been despatched.

“As you know, the Swiss have been invited to come prepared to discuss, at the forthcoming economic negotiations,8 the reception in Switzerland of selected children from Belgium, France and other Allied occupied territories. They have already been told that we and the Americans would welcome such action on their part, and would be glad to give facilities for extraordinary imports to ease the burden of feeding and clothing children so received within a provisional limit of 100,000.

“Please request that they now as a first step and as soon as possible approach the Germans for permission in principle for children to leave occupied territory in this connection. We should be glad if they would include Jewish children from Germany and elsewhere in Axis Europe in the enquiry.

“This would clear the ground and facilitate the forthcoming discussions. It will be understood of course that the selection of children under such a scheme could not be left to the Germans or to puppet governments in occupied countries.

“For your information, if the Germans refuse, we intend to give their attitude the fullest publicity. If this point should arise when you speak to the Swiss you should therefore avoid any undertaking that the matter will remain secret.”

MEW is awaiting your views on Embassy’s 239 before approaching Swedish Legation here.9 Please expedite reply.

  1. Foreign Economic Administration.
  2. Neither printed.
  3. British Ministry of Economic Warfare.
  4. Economic Warfare Division of the Embassy in London.
  5. For correspondence on this subject, see vol. ii, pp. 1 ff.
  6. In telegram 381, January 15, 1944, to London, the Department expressed approval of suggested approach to the Swedish Legation (840.48 Refugees/4979).