The British Ambassador (Halifax) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Ed: In Anthony’s absence I write with reference to your letter of April 18th12 stating that President Truman had agreed to your discussing with Anthony and Mr. Molotov the question of the joint warning on prisoners of war in Germany.

We have just heard that the Prime Minister thinks that the warning should be issued without delay and he mentions in this connection recent current reports that “prominent” British and American prisoners have been removed by the Germans to some secret place.

We had, a few days ago, informed Mr. Gufler of your Special War Problems Division, that we favoured leaving it to Eisenhower and Alexander to suggest the right time to issue this warning.13 This view is now overtaken and the purpose of this letter is to let you know that Anthony will propose to you and Mr. Molotov when you all three meet, that the message be issued immediately.

We are assuming that you three will not have any difficulties with the actual text, which I sent you with my letter of April 7th,14 since both the late President and Marshal Stalin agreed to it.

Yours ever,

  1. Letter from the Secretary of State to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Anthony Eden, who was in Washington in connection with the forthcoming meeting of the United Nations at San Francisco; not printed.
  2. In a letter of April 18, 1945, Mr. G. R. Ranken of the British Embassy informed Mr. Bernard Gufler that British authorities had proposed that the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force (Eisenhower), and the Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Area (Alexander), be instructed to advise the Combined Chiefs of Staff when either of them thought the time was ripe for issue of the warning. Mr. Ranken also asked for a signature of President Truman to be sent to London as soon as possible for facsimile use on the proposed warning leaflets to be dropped in German territory. (762.00114/4–1845) Mr. Gufler on April 20 sent Mr. Ranken two cards with the President’s signature but pointed out that the exact language and timing of the warning were still under discussion (762.00114/4–1845).
  3. Not printed; regarding text of the proposed warning, see footnote 6, p. 703.