740.00115 E.W./10–2544: Telegram

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

3639. Reurtel 6902, October 18.77 Last May, Department sent to Moscow for transmission to appropriate Soviet authorities list of 374 United States citizens and accompanying alien relatives who were reported by Swiss representatives in 1942 to have been residing in Hungary. Similar lists for Bulgaria, Rumania, and southern portion of Czechoslovakia were sent at the same time. Mission at Moscow was requested to inform Soviet Government that the information in the lists should be of assistance to its authorities in liberated areas in identifying American citizens and their dependents, many of whom would presumably request the local authorities for advice in getting in touch with the nearest United States Government representative for the purpose of obtaining such assistance as the United States Government might be prepared to extend to them.

Even if foregoing action had not been taken, Department is confident that the Soviet Government as an ally would take every possible action to see that United States citizens who conduct themselves peaceably were protected by the Soviet armed forces and also that our citizens would be given such facilities as they might need to obtain appropriate assistance from the nearest United States Government representatives or from the Swiss authorities representing American interests in the area concerned.

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If civil disorders threatening the lives of United States citizens should develop in Hungary, Swiss authorities should take every possible measure to protect United States citizens and their accompanying alien relatives, including implementation of the arrangements suggested or alternative ones. The head of family, if an American, or the oldest American member of family should be required to sign a promissory note in an amount equivalent to his family pro rata share of the costs involved in implementing the special arrangements. The Department should be informed when such action is taken.

Please inform appropriate Swiss authorities in confidence of this Government’s action and attitude in this matter.

A paraphrase of your telegram under acknowledgement and the text of this telegram are being repeated to Caserta, London, and Moscow78 with a request that the appropriate Allied authorities be confidentially informed in the premises.

Stettinius
  1. Not printed; it reported that a Swiss note of October 3 had requested the Legation to ascertain whether the Department would be disposed to take favorable action upon requests made by uninterned members of American, British, and Belgian colonies in Budapest protected by the Swiss Government who desired to take refuge at Venta Sanatorium at the expense of their respective Governments. These persons, according to a Swiss note of October 15, foresaw possible disorders created by communist groups and expressed fear that the Soviet armed forces would not give proper recognition to Swiss protective documentation if the bearers kept separate domiciles. (740.00115 EW/10–1844)
  2. As telegrams 296, 8905, and 2518, respectively, dated October 25, 10 p.m.