740.00115 European War 1939/8155: Telegram

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

533. American Interests—Germany. Gripsholm left New York last night carrying a total of 1310 passengers as follows:22

I. Official exchange:

German officials 28; French officials, 18; German non-official nationals from other American republics included in the official exchange, [Page 796] 687; additional non-official German men who were included in the official exchange at the request of German Government in order to be reunited with their families repatriated earlier, 54.

II. Non-officials:

Non-official German nationals being reciprocally repatriated on humanitarian grounds, 375.

III. Sick and wounded:

Seriously sick and seriously wounded German prisoners of war from United States, 117; seriously sick and seriously wounded German prisoners of war from Canada, 14; one of the seriously sick and seriously wounded prisoners of war, Erich Eberhardt, who was to have been repatriated was at the last moment too ill to undergo the rigors of the journey and the number placed on board the vessel was thus 117 instead of 118 as originally contemplated.

IV. Technical staff:

Swiss representative, 1; Department of State representatives, 3; medical attendants, 13.

Please inform Swiss Foreign Office for information German Government, adding that Department understands that Swiss Consulate General New York is telegraphing data regarding number of invalids, number of children and quantity of baggage.

Attention of German Government should be particularly invited to fact that to meet the urgent pleas of numerous Germans that they be repatriated on compassionate grounds, 75 non-official Germans who had originally been considered as a pool from which to make replacements of last minute declinations were embarked in addition to the 300 non-official Germans whose repatriation on a reciprocal basis was originally envisaged when accepting the German Government’s proposal (Heading II of Department’s note February 3 to Swiss Legation, Washington, Department’s 363, February 3 to you). Some of these urgent pleas were received within less than 24 hours of the sailing of the vessel; nevertheless, the United States Government overcame great technical obstacles in order to ensure the departure of those concerned. Thus the United States Government was able, without affecting the quota of 741 non-officials set for the official exchange or the quota of 300 originally set for the supplemental exchange, to embark as well the list of 75 extra persons originally designated as a pool from which to provide replacements for those two quotas.

The United States Government hopes German Government will likewise find it possible to overcome technical obstacles in order that opportunity for repatriation can be extended to a sufficient number of additional persons so that total to be exchanged in category II will not be less than 375 on each side, and suggests possibility that additional [Page 797] individuals to reach 375 total be drawn from internment camps in France or alternatively that United States nationals or nationals of the other American republics in France to meet this number be afforded opportunity for repatriation whether or not they are interned (see in this connection and request Swiss to repeat to German Government sense of Department’s 488, February 1323).

  1. The exchange vessel arrived in Lisbon on February 25. For additional information concerning the groups of American and German nationals exchanged, see Department of State Bulletin, February 19, 1944, p. 189. A list of passengers aboard the Gripsholm, returning from Lisbon on March 6, 1944, is contained in Department of State press release No. 75 of March 11, 1944.
  2. Not printed.