740.00116 E.W./9–144: Telegram

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

5751. I read all the pertinent portions of your 2905 August 23 to Mr. Pilet18 and inquired whether he was prepared to give assurances that Axis leaders and their criminal henchmen would be refused admittance to Switzerland. In reply Mr. Pilet assured me that the Federal Council would be most prudent (French “sage”). They had fully in mind the “exterior” as well as the “interior” repercussions that might arise should such persons be granted asylum. As examples [Page 1416] he mentioned Hitler, Himmler,19 Mussolini, Laval,20 De Brinon21 and other members of Laval Cabinet. Mr. Pilet denied rumors that Laval had sought permission to come to Switzerland. Members of armed forces of Reich including SS seeking refuge would be interned. Members of Gestapo, a foreign police, would not be admitted. There might be difficulty in deciding cases of prominent German army officers. In principle refuge would be continued for women and children. Mr. Pilet also stated that each case would be carefully considered and decided on basis of its effect on security and in light of best interests of Switzerland.

  1. Marcel Pilet-Golaz, Chief of the Swiss Federal Political Department.
  2. Heinrich Himmler, Reich Leader of the SS and of the State Police.
  3. Pierre Laval, Prime Minister, and Minister for Foreign Affairs and for Interior of the Vichy Government.
  4. Fernand de Brinon, Secretary of State of the Vichy Government.