740.00115 EW 39/8668½

The Swiss Minister (Bruggmann) to the Secretary of State

The Minister of Switzerland in charge of German and French interests presents his compliments to the Honorable the Secretary of State and has the honor to refer to the Secretary’s note of December 18, 1943,2 and to preceding correspondence concerning the proposed exchange of certain nationals between the United States and Germany.

The Minister now wishes to draw attention to an urgent cable just received from abroad, reading in translation as follows:

Primo: The German Government agrees to effect the exchange on the basis now proposed by the United States Government. Accordingly, the following groups of persons are to be included in the exchange from America in return for the repatriation of the American diplomatic groups held in Baden-Baden and Bad Godesberg, as well as Panamanian nationals in the areas under German control:

The twenty-six members of the former German Consulate General in Algiers, presently interned at the Hotel Ingleside, as well as the former German Honorary Consul in Bari, Friedrich Thisson, and his wife.
The six hundred eighty-seven German nationals already named by the United States Government. Should some of these persons be unwilling to return to Germany, or for other reasons be prevented from participating in the exchange, they are to be substituted by a corresponding number of other German nationals in the United States.
Furthermore, other German nationals interned in the United States, the members of whose families have already been [Page 786] repatriated to Germany, and whose repatriation appears to be warranted for humane reasons.
The one hundred thirty-two German nationals from Brazil, who have already been considered for repatriation.
The members of the French official group named by the United States, who are held in Hershey and who are willing to return.

Secondo: In addition, the German Government asks that the question be examined whether there is any possibility of including within the framework of the exchange the German nationals from Central and South America who are presently interned in Crystal City, Texas, and who are named in the enclosed list.3 In view of the consent already given by the United States Government to the repatriation of the majority of the German nationals held in the Crystal City Internment Camp, it would constitute a hardship if the remaining German nationals included in the above-mentioned list, whose repatriation had not yet been proposed, could not participate in the exchange. The German Government, on its part, is endeavoring to offer an opportunity to participate in the exchange to all the persons previously named by the United States and Central and South American Governments, who had not yet been added to the exchange groups in Bad Godesberg and Baden-Baden. The German Government firmly expects, however, that the United States Government will also take into account the German wishes, and will give its consent particularly to the repatriation within the framework of the exchange, of the German nationals

  • Mrs. Lina Graff,4
  • Dr. Ernest Kohlschuetter, and
  • Professor Adolf Kappus.

Tertio: The German Government will expedite preparations for the transport of the American groups of persons to Portugal in order that the exchange can be effected in Lisbon starting on February 20, 1944. The German Government expects early notification from the United States Government concerning the exact date of arrival in Lisbon of the steamer carrying the German exchange groups. Furthermore, details would be required regarding the markings and the time of departure of the steamer from the American port of embarkation, in order that proper instructions can be given to the German naval authorities so that safe crossing of the exchange vessel may be assured. In consideration of the reference contained in the American note to the effect that the Brazilian Government is to deliver in Portugal one hundred thirty-two German nationals from Brazil in return for the delivery in Portugal of the Brazilian diplomatic group held in Bad Godesberg, the German Government has repeatedly endeavored to secure details from the Brazilian Government concerning the identity of the persons in this group. No reply has been [Page 787] received from the Brazilian Government to date. Should the German group from Brazil arrive in Portugal at the time of the scheduled exchange in Portugal, the German Government will include the Brazilian exchange group held in Bad Godesberg with the remaining Central and South American diplomatic groups to be delivered in Portugal. In the event the date of delivery of the German group from Brazil is postponed, however, the Brazilian diplomatic group in German hands will be delivered in Portugal at such a time as to coincide with the arrival of the German group from Brazil.

Quarto: Anticipating reciprocity, the German Government intends to permit all the members of the American exchange groups to take along their entire personal belongings with the exception of furniture and motor vehicles. In particular, it is not the intention of the German Government to prohibit the export of gold, jewelry or foreign currency, or to subject the United States groups to restrictions in this connection. However, in view of foreign exchange regulations, the export of Reichsmark or French Franc amounts cannot be permitted. The German Government intends to refrain from examining the baggage of the American repatriation groups. The German Government expects a reply to the effect that the United States Government will follow the same procedure with respect to the German exchange groups.

Quinto: In accordance with the policy pursued in previous exchanges with American countries, the German Government plans also in this instance to defray the cost of the transport of the American exchange groups as far as Lisbon, on the assumption, however, that the United States Government will, as heretofore, also defray all expenses in connection with baggage and transport of the German repatriation groups to the American port of embarkation. The German Government would appreciate receiving confirmation as soon as possible from the United States Government that it agrees to this procedure.”

  1. Ibid., p. 115.
  2. Not printed.
  3. In a note of February 12 to the Swiss Legation, the Department stated that Mrs. Graff, an American citizen, was unable to travel because of illness and that the other two had sent the Department signed statements refusing the opportunity to return to Germany (740.00115 European War 1939/7874).