762.51114/4–1845: Telegram

The Ambassador in France ( Caffery ) to the Secretary of State

1939. I have just received a verbal message from the Foreign Ministry that the French Government has decided to refuse the German proposal regarding French POWs in German custody. According to the official who conveyed this message the decision was taken only after the French Government had studied all aspects of the question. He said that acceptance of the German proposal would tie the hands of the French Government and for the reasons outlined in my 1930 April 18 it is not possible to accept the proposal. He mentioned the fact that despite the decision the French Government is somewhat apprehensive and fears that the Germans may take reprisals against [Page 715] the French POWs. This, he said, was unfortunately a risk which the French Government is obliged to take.