J. C. S. Files
Draft Reciprocal Agreement on Prisoners of War as Approved by the Combined Chiefs of Staff on February 8, 1945 1
Agreement Relating to Prisoners of War and Civilians Liberated by the Soviet Armies and U. S. (British) Armies
The Government of the U. S. S. R. and the Government of the United States of America (the Government of His Britannic Majesty) wishing to conclude an agreement on arranging for the care and repatriation of Soviet citizens freed by Allied troops, and for American citizens (British subjects) freed by the Red Army, through their appointed representatives, acting mutually in the authority duly and fully invested in them, have agreed as follows:—
All Soviet citizens liberated by forces operating under U. S. (British) command and American citizens (British subjects) liberated by the forces operating under Soviet command will, without delay after their liberation, be separated from enemy prisoners of war and will be maintained separately from them in camps or points of concentration until they have been handed over to the Soviet or U. S. (British) authorities, as the case may be, at places agreed upon between those authorities.
U. S. (British) and Soviet military authorities will respectively take necessary measures for protection of camps, and points of concentration from enemy bombing, artillery fire, etc.
The contracting parties shall ensure that their military authorities shall without delay inform the competent authorities of the other party regarding citizens (or subjects) of the other contracting party found by them, and will undertake to follow all the provisions of this agreement. Soviet and U. S. (British) repatriation representatives will have the right of immediate access into the camps and points of concentration where their citizens (or subjects) are located and they will have the right to appoint the internal administration and set up the internal discipline and management in accordance with the military procedure and laws of their country.
Facilities will be given for the despatch or transfer of officers of their own nationality to camps or points of concentration where liberated members of the respective forces are located and there are [Page 755]insufficient officers. The outside protection of and access to and from the camps or points of concentration will be established in accordance with the instructions of the military commander in whose zone they are located, and the military commander shall also appoint a commandant, who shall have the final responsibility for the over-all administration and discipline of the camp or point concerned.
The relocation of camps as well as the transfer from one camp to another of liberated citizens will be notified to the competent Soviet or U. S. (British) authorities. Hostile propaganda directed against the contracting parties or against any of the United Nations will not be permitted.
Except in so far as the obligations set out in this article may be affected by obligations undertaken in connection with the use of UNRRA (or other agreed relief agencies) the competent U. S. (British) and Soviet authorities will do their utmost in the circumstances obtaining in any area, and from time to time, to supply liberated citizens (or subjects) of the contracting parties with adequate food, clothing, housing and medical attention both in camps or at points of concentration and en route, and with transport until they are handed over to the Soviet or U. S. (British) authorities at places agreed upon between those authorities. The standards of such food, clothing, housing and medical attention shall so far as possible be consistent with the normal practice relating to military rank.
The contracting parties will not demand compensation for these or other similar services which their authorities may supply respectively to liberated citizens (or subjects) of the other contracting party.
Either of the contracting parties shall be at liberty to use such of its own means of transport as may be available for the repatriation of its citizens (or subjects) held by the other contracting party. Similarly each of the contracting parties shall be at liberty to use its own facilities for the delivery of supplies to its citizens (or subjects) held by the other contracting party.
Soviet and U. S. (British) military authorities shall make such advances on behalf of their respective governments to liberated citizens (and subjects) of the other contracting party as the competent Soviet and U. S. (British) authorities shall agree upon beforehand.
Advances made in currency of any enemy territory or in currency of their occupation authorities shall not be liable to compensation.[Page 756]
In the case of advances made in currency of liberated non-enemy territory, the Soviet and U. S. (British) Governments will effect, each for advances made to their citizens (or subjects) necessary settlements with the governments of the territory concerned, who will be informed of the amount of their currency paid out for this purpose.
Ex-prisoners of war (with the exception of officers) and civilians of each of the contracting parties may, until their repatriation, be employed in the management, maintenance and administration of the camps or billets in which they are situated. They may also be employed on a voluntary basis on other work in the vicinity of their camps in furtherance of the common war effort in accordance with agreements to be reached between the competent Soviet and U. S. (British) authorities. The question of payment and conditions of labor shall be determined by agreement between those authorities. It is understood that liberated members of the respective forces will be employed in accordance with military standards and procedure.
The contracting parties shall, wherever necessary, use all practicable means to ensure the evacuation to the rear of these liberated citizens (and subjects). They also undertake to use all practicable means to transport liberated citizens (and subjects) to places to be agreed upon where they can be handed over to the Soviet or U. S. (British) authorities respectively. The handing over of these liberated citizens (and subjects) shall in no way be delayed or impeded by the requirements of their temporary employment.
The contracting parties will give the fullest possible effect to the foregoing provisions of this Agreement, subject only to the limitations in detail and from time to time of operational, supply and transport conditions in the several theatres.
- C. C. S. 777/2.↩