701.0065/29a

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

No. 2101

Sir: Transmitted herewith is a copy of a letter to the Secretary of War32 concerning the policy of the United States Government with respect to diplomatic and consular property of enemy governments and the property of enemy diplomatic and consular personnel. As you will observe from numbered paragraph three of its enclosure no. 3,33 the Mission at Algiers has been directed to accept custody of certain German consular property at Algiers for eventual delivery into the custody of the Spanish representative at Algiers in charge of German interests there. The Mission at Algiers has reported that it assumed custody of the property on February 19, 1944.34 As you [Page 1483]will also observe, the Mission is not to relinquish custody until the German Government replies satisfactorily to the representations of the United States Government with respect to the maltreatment of diplomatic and consular property of the United States at Vichy and Tunis, respectively, and that of American diplomatic and consular personnel formerly at those places and at Paris.

You are requested to inform the Swiss Government in the sense of this instruction and to request that it continue to endeavor to obtain from the German Government satisfactory replies to the representations mentioned above.

In this connection, the Department refers to the following correspondence:

(a)
Your despatch no. 7157 of January 25, 194435 and previous correspondence concerning the forcible entry into the former American Embassy at Vichy by German officials and their seizure of diplomatic archives (including files on the former representation by the United States of Australian, British, Canadian, New Zealand, and South African interests in unoccupied France) and other property of the United States Government and of personal property of the Embassy’s personnel.
(b)
Your despatch no. 6703 of November 26, 194335 and previous correspondence concerning the occupation by German authorities in France of the private residences in the Paris area of certain American diplomatic personnel that had been employed as clerks by the former American Embassy at Paris; and
(c)
The Department’s instruction no. 2024 of January 15, 194435 concerning the seizure by German military personnel of consular property of the United States Government at Tunis and of personal property of H. A. Doolittle, Esquire, American Consul General there.

Copies of this instruction will be forwarded to the Embassy at London, the Mission at Algiers, the Consulate at Tunis, and (for Mr. Doolittle’s36 information) the Legation at Cairo.

For your confidential information, the suggested treatment of such enemy diplomatic and consular property as may be captured by our armed forces, described in section (b) of the third paragraph of the letter to the Secretary of War, has been modified since that letter was dispatched. It is now contemplated that the United Nations might wish to copy (but not to confiscate) especially important captured records in the event that they have not been delivered into the custody of the protecting Power. The words “without examination” may accordingly be considered as deleted from Section (b).

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Breckinridge Long
  1. Dated March 10, p. 1479.
  2. Airgram A–59, February 1, p. 1476.
  3. Despatch 127 dated February 24, 1944, from Algiers, with an enclosure dated February 19 listing the contents of the consular property; neither printed.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Not printed.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Hooker A. Doolittle, former Consul at Tunis, whose household goods had been seized by the German Army on November 14, 1942.