740.00115 EW/12–1844: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Switzerland (Huddle)

4340. American Interests Germany—Civilian Exchange. Your 8203, December 18. It is noted (1) that German Government is agreeable to proposed civilian exchange to take place the middle of January and that German Government proposes Switzerland as an exchange point, (2) that in order to avoid transportation difficulties, it is necessary that the civilian exchange not take place at the same time as the seriously sick and wounded exchange, but approximately four days prior thereto, and (3) that German Government is willing to authorize, within the framework of this exchange, the repatriation of the 34 Cuban nationals now held in Spain who are a part of a partially carried out Cuban-German exchange.

With reference to (1) the United States Government is agreeable that the exchange take place in Switzerland to the extent that such an exchange can be coordinated with the sick and wounded prisoner of war exchange which forms the subject of a separate message.66 With reference to (2) the proposals being made by this Government in regard to the sick and wounded exchange suggest that, because of transportation difficulties, there take place in Switzerland a combined exchange of sick and wounded and civilians in two parts: the first part involving 1900 persons, to take place on January 17 and the other involving the remainder of the sick and wounded and the civilians to take place on January 25. It is believed that such an exchange in two installments eight days apart will fully meet the requirements of (2) above. In so far as this Government is concerned, it makes no difference whether the 875 United States and other American civilians (ReDeptel 4282 December 20, 194467) are included in [Page 821] the first or second group to reach Switzerland, but it is emphasized that the German civilians must, because of transportation conditions, be included in the second group. (3) In order to be of assistance to the Cuban Government, this Government is agreeable to the proposal made by the German Government in regard to the repatriation of the 34 Cuban nationals now in Spain, on the condition that the German Government accepts the proposals made in the Department’s 4282 in regard to the 25 civilians in Europe, thus increasing to 875 the total number of United States and Latin American nationals, inclusive of the 34 Cubans in this exchange. Of these 875, it is thus expected that 841, including the merchant seamen, will be exchanged through Switzerland. The United States Government will deliver 875 German civilians, including seamen through Switzerland.

It is to be understood, of course, that the German Government will, upon the date which the final exchange occurs, authorize the Spanish Government to release the 34 Cuban nationals for repatriation by neutral vessels to Cuba. The German Government will be expected to give the necessary assurances of safe conduct for the travel of these Cubans from Spain to Cuba, individually or as a group.

Cuban Government has been informed of this proposal of the German Government and has indicated its agreement thereto.

  1. Telegram 4341, infra.
  2. Not printed; in this telegram the Chargé in Switzerland was instructed “to inform German Government that this Government is prepared to include in the forthcoming exchange 25 German civilians now held in the European theater of operations who are considered eligible for repatriation because of illness or old age” and that the German Government, reciprocally, should permit the departure from Germany of 25 United States nationals deserving special consideration because of illness or age (740.00115 E.W./12–2044).