711.62114 Sick/8–1344: Telegram

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

5266. American Interests Germany POW repatriation. Department’s 2682, 4th, Legation’s 5186, 10th.47 Foreign Office made available to Legation at 11:45 a.m. Sunday,48 copy of note dated August 12 [Page 807] from German Legation Bern49 of which following substance translation.

German Government agrees to exchange of seriously wounded and seriously sick soldiers and excess sanitary personnel on September 8 at Göteborg as well as simultaneously to exchange approximately 500 German civilians from Great Britain against a corresponding number of British civilians.
As United States Government has on various occasions cited figures regarding seriously wounded German POWs repatriated from American custody and those concerning the number of repatriated American POWs whereby to draw comparison it must be observed that after effecting the Göteborg exchange the number of repatriated Americans will attain one and one half percent of total number American POWs in German hands while United States Government with a total of 660 repatriated seriously sick and seriously wounded will represent only a small fraction of one percent of total number of German POWs in American custody. No American sanitary personnel have been included in exchange transport because there are fewer than 200 members of such personnel in German hands that is fewer than ten by 1,000 and which can therefore be retained.
At present it is not yet possible to determine whether in view present transport difficulties it will be possible in accordance wish of United States Government to include in exchange those seriously wounded who have not already been examined by mixed medical commission.
German Government agrees to transfer of German seriously wounded and seriously sick from North Africa with American facilities.
German Government agrees that Gripsholm may be used for carrying POW mail and relief supplies on outward and return voyage.
  1. Latter not printed.
  2. August 13.
  3. Telegram 5270, August 14, from Bern reported: “Swiss note August 13th received Monday confirms Legation’s 5266, August 13.” (711.62114 Sick/8–1444)