800.414/4–745: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to Diplomatic Representatives in the American Republics

Re Deptelcirc March 31, 3 p.m. Upon the collapse of Germany you should point out to the Foreign Office the urgent necessity of immediately obtaining access to the information mentioned in the reference telegram so that this material might be made available through you to the United Nations in order that the enemy’s intelligence network may be destroyed.

Should there be no official surrender announced over the air but a gradual deterioration, the Department will inform you when to proceed. You should not take action before such notice.

It is not desirable to approach the protecting powers, Spain and Switzerland, at this time. However, upon collapse or surrender of Germany that country will have no moral right to insist upon the immunity of the archives in question, since the espionage and propaganda activities carried on by diplomatic and consular officers of Germany involved an abuse of immunity. It will be to the advantage [Page 1138] not only of countries of the Western Hemisphere but of all other countries that the records in question be opened up and thoroughly examined. Obviously this has a most important bearing upon measures for preventing another World War, and in such measures neutral nations, as well as the United Nations, have a vital interest. The Department realizes that it must rely upon your discretion in handling this matter and counts upon your reporting promptly any developments that should be known to the Department.