Defense Files: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State (Grew)
top secret

Argonaut 125. Crypto-War for Acting Secretary of State only from Secretary Stettinius.

The text referred to in your number 27, dated February 8,1 is the British redraft of the Soviet redraft submitted to the British and [Page 757]American Governments on January 20.2 In origin, it is a SHAEF paper. The British have subsequently made a few changes in it which I feel we can accept without reservation. The British are most anxious to present this draft to the Russians today for their consideration. JCS are in full agreement. I can see no objections to the redraft and have authorized, insofar as we are concerned, tripartite discussions based on it. It does not cover the numbered points mentioned in your reference telegram which were embodied in the Department’s note of February 1 to the Soviet Embassy.3 The consensus here is that it would be unwise to include questions relative to the protection of the Geneva Convention and to Soviet citizens in the U.S. in an agreement which deals primarily with the exchange of prisoners liberated by the Allied armies as they march into Germany. With respect to “claimants”, notwithstanding the danger of German retaliation, we believe there will be serious delays in the release of our prisoners of war unless we reach prompt agreement on this question.

Argonaut , February 9, 1945.

  1. Ante, p. 697.
  2. The British redraft here referred to is printed ante, pp. 694696; the Soviet redraft submitted on January 20 is printed ante, pp 416418.
  3. Not printed. This note dealt with the application of the Geneva Convention to certain prisoners of war of Russian origin who were in German uniform when captured by United States forces.