711.62114A/4–1345: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Secretary of State

3772. Last night the War Cabinet decided to accept the proposal received by the British Government similar to the one set forth in Bern’s number 2132 to the Department. Immediately thereafter Foreign Office instructed British Embassy at Washington to approach Department in following sense:

a. War Cabinet considers that United States and British Governments should have no hesitation in accepting proposal. b. The proposal is similar to the one which Chiefs of Staff forwarded concerning prisoners of war in eastern Germany which proposal was however rejected by Soviets. United States and British Governments should inform Soviet Government simultaneously of German proposal and of United States and British acceptance making it plain that the two Governments assume Soviet agreement. c. Meanwhile in order to ensure that the German proposal is being kept open British Government is informing Swiss that it has approached the United States Government. d. Should the Soviet reply be unfavorable, British Government believes that it and the United States Government should nevertheless accept the proposal, informing the Soviets that the two Governments do so on the grounds that the western front is their responsibility. e. When the Swiss have been informed of acceptance of the proposal, the French should be advised thereof and asked to join. f. The proposal received orally by the British asked for an undertaking that prisoners of war “would not further participate in the war”. While nothing is said about the war against Japan, the British assume that such an undertaking would only be in connection with the war against Germany.