740.00119 Control (Germany)/6–1145

The British Embassy to the Department of State

No. 1848/—/45


His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs40 has received from His Majesty’s Minister at Berne41 a telegram of June 7th, extracts from which are attached42 calling attention to the possibility that the Swiss Government might seek to divest themselves of responsibility for quasi-Consular functions in respect of German [Page 1149] matters in consequence of the representations recently made to them in respect of German archives and German public property in Switzerland.

In the view of His Majesty’s Government similar difficulties are to be anticipated in other neutral countries including Spain and Portugal. As indicated in Mr. Maclean’s letter to Mr. Clattenburg of June 7th,42a His Majesty’s Government see no alternative to holding the host government responsible for the functions in regard to German citizens which were previously performed by German consular officers and which are not dependent upon the Allied Control Authorities in Germany.
But in order to exercise these functions the host governments may reasonably require the use of German consular archives and probably also German consular premises and may claim that the control powers cannot have it both ways.
3 [4].
A refusal on the part of the host governments to deal with quasi-Consular matters would, in the view of His Majesty’s Government, place the Allied Governments concerned in an awkward position. There can be no question as yet of independent agencies representing the Control Council in Germany functioning in neutral countries. Furthermore if the host governments obtain an excuse for disinteresting themselves in local Germans, this may prejudice the success of future action to secure the repatriation of Germans whom it is desirable to have recalled or expelled.
4 [5].
In these circumstances, if the State Department agree, the Foreign Office propose to concede provisionally to the host governments the full use of German archives for quasi-Consular functions (provided the Allied powers concerned retain right of access) and also use of the German premises where necessary. The Allied right of control would not thereby be abandoned. Indeed, emphasis on “control” instead of “custody” seems desirable in general. The concession would not affect diplomatic premises or archives.
  1. Anthony Eden.
  2. Sir John Clifford Norton.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Not printed.