711.62115 AR/11–1745: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Nicaragua (Warren)

A–328. Urtel 714, Nov. 17, 6 p.m. The Department is fully aware of the difficulty of obtaining documentary evidence to prove the citizenship and Nazi activities of Germans brought here from Nicaragua for internment during the course of the war. The same difficulty, of course, exists with respect to those brought from other American republics. However, the Department wishes to have all possible documentary evidence furnished for the following reasons:

The entire program of repatriating German nationals from this country, including those resident here as well as those brought from the other American republics, faces a number of legal difficulties. Documentary evidence will be needed to satisfy the courts of the United States that the State Department is not engaged in a program beyond the constitutional and statutory powers of the Government. This is particularly true in the case of those internees who can claim that they are not German or Axis citizens. Hence the specific requests made in instruction no. 11040 under sub-paragraphs (a) and (b).
During the course of actual hostilities it may well have been necessary to round up and intern Germans and other Axis nationals on the basis of reputation and similar hearsay evidence. However, the Department feels that stricter standards of evidence must be applied in determining whether such persons should be removed from this hemisphere and consequently, in many cases, permanently separated from their families.
Without making reference to any cases from Nicaragua, it has already become clear that there were some cases in which entirely harmless persons and persons with definite anti-Nazi inclinations were sent to this country for internment from other American republics. While it was perhaps inevitable that such mistakes should have occurred in a program of this size during the course of hostilities, they must not be perpetuated.

With respect to the possibilities of obtaining documentary evidence, it is believed that they are greater now than in 1941–42. Many new sources, notably official German archives, are now for the first time available, both in the American republics and in Germany.

[Page 294]

As stated in the Department’s press release of November 2 (see Radio Bulletin No. 262),41 it is the policy of the Department to pursue the objective stated in Resolution VII of the Mexico City Conference and to pursue it in close cooperation with the other American republics. The Department has not for a moment lost sight of the absolute necessity for preventing the resurgence of Nazi influence in this hemisphere. For your information, it is felt that the most effective way to achieve this end will be for the Inter-American Emergency Advisory Committee for Political Defense, acting pursuant to paragraph 4 of Resolution VII, to recommend a common specific program to all the American republics. It is hoped that that may shortly be done. In order for such a program to be accepted, however, it will obviously have to concentrate upon the exclusion from the hemisphere of the particularly dangerous Axis elements, especially those who were leaders and key figures in the Nazi movement, and not attempt to make a complete sweep of all who had some connections with the Nazis or were by reputation sympathetic to them. This is in general what the Department of Justice is doing with respect to the Germans who were resident here. From the point of view of fairness as well as of what is practical, we cannot urge the other American republics to do more.

  1. See similar instruction 123 November 2, to Lima, p. 287.
  2. Release on Departmental Order No. 1352 entitled “Establishment and Functions off the Alien Enemy Control Section,” Department of State Bulletin November 4, 1945, p. 738.