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ister for Foreign Affairs states Germany always ready to examine complaints and give proper remedy. As to lists of American prisoners in Germany states a list sent some time ago, but that Government of the United States has not shown itself disposed to furnish lists of German prisoners in the United States. Referring to the Department's telegram of January 4, 3 p. m., 814, German Minister for Foreign Affairs states investigation was opened January 9 concerning unfounded reports about treatment of American prisoners.
File No. 763.72114/3296
The Swiss Minister (Sulzer') to the Secretary of State
Department of German WASHINGTON, February 13, 1918.
[Received February 15.] SIR: Referring to Your Excellency's note of December 1, 1917, wherein you advised this Legation that, in the future, representatives of the Legation of Switzerland in conducting inspections of camps or stations in the United States where German prisoners are interned, could not be allowed the privilege of speaking to prisoners except in the presence of American officers, until the German Government should have agreed to observe reciprocity in permitting such conversations without witnesses, I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that, having duly advised my Government of these facts, I am now in receipt of a reply.
The Swiss Foreign Office has transmitted to this Legation a note verbale of the German Foreign Office, and an order of the German War Office, copies of which are enclosed, in which Your Excellency will note that the privilege of conversation without witnesses with prisoners of war internen in Germany is accorded in the case of nationals of all countries, with the exception of those of France.
In view of this declaration of the German Government, I should esteem it a great courtesy if Your Excellency would have instructions issued whereby, in the future, representatives of this Legation, in conducting inspections of war prison camps, would have the privilege of speaking to prisoners without witnesses. Accept [etc.] For the Absent Minister of Switzerland
CARL P. HÜBSCHER
* Ante', p. 15.
File No. 763.72114/3331
[Received February 26, 8.35 p. m.] 2720. At the suggestion of Spanish Embassy, Berlin, recommend agreement be made with Germany similar in form to one made by French to effect that all court proceedings against American prisoners in Germany be reported to Spanish Embassy so that Embassy counsel for defense may be appointed whose fee would be paid out of American funds at disposal of Embassy. Spanish Ambassador considers it important that American Government be informed of proceedings by means of reports drawn up by attorneys. Delegate from Embassy would also be present at trials.
Specific case indicating above action was proceedings in February against Paul Nagel of Brandenburg camp who for attempt at escape in November was sentenced to six months' imprisonment because of destruction of the property in attempt. No counsel represented him on account failure to notify Embassy but legal procedure appears to have been followed. Report follows by mail.1
WASHINGTON, March 4, 1918, 4 p. m. 1557. Your 2720, February 25, 11 a. m. Inform Spanish Embassy, Berlin, that Department approves its suggestion that all court martial proceedings against American prisoners in Germany be referred to it so that it may appoint counsel for defense. Counsel's fee would be paid out of American funds at disposal of Embassy. Department will be glad to have this matter taken up immediately with German Foreign Office, and Government of United States will promise reciprocity in this respect provided German Government consents.
Department advised by War Department that rules governing punishment for attempted escapes by prisoners in force in the United States are as follows:
The punishment for a simple attempt to escape on the part of a prisoner of war, even if repeated, shall not exceed military confinement for a period of 14 days.
The punishment for such an attempt to escape combined with other punishable actions consequent upon or incidental to such attempt in respect of property, whether in relation to the appropriation or possession thereof, or injury thereto, shall not exceed military confinement for a period of two months.
* Not printed.
These rules are embodied in paragraph 7 of general agreement forwarded to you under cover Department's despatch of February 21.1
Request Spanish Embassy to bring these rules to attention of German Government in connection with sentence of six months imposed on Paul Nagel at Brandenburg and request commutation of his sentence. Further request Embassy to inform German Government that unless Nagel's sentence is repealed or very materially reduced to conform with regulations in force in the United States, Government of United States will be obliged to treat with far greater severity than our present rule prescribes attempted escapes by German prisoners in the United States. Sentence of Lieut. Otto Portwich, who recently attempted to escape from Fort Douglas, Utah, now awaiting trial, will depend largely upon reply of German Government to above.
File No. 763.72114/3365
The Secretary of State to the Swiss Minister (Sulzer) No. 160
WASHINGTON, March 18, 1918. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of February 13, 1918, in which you requested that instructions be issued whereby in the future representatives of the Legation in conducting inspections of war prison camps might have the privilege of speaking to the prisoners without witnesses.
In reply, I have the honor to inform you that in view of the statements contained in the enclosures to your note, the Government of the United States is willing to grant to the representatives of the Legation the privilege of conversing with German prisoners of war without the presence of witnesses. The War Department has revoked its previous instructions forbidding the privilege of unwitnessed conversation with German prisoners by representatives of the Swiss Legation. Accept [etc.]
File No. 763.72114/3406a
WASHINGTON, March 21, 1918, 4 p. m. 6976. Ascertain from Foreign Office whether American citizens enlisted in British Army or Navy who may be captured by German or Austrian forces will receive the same supplies in food and cloth
* Post, p. 68.
2 The same, mutatis mutandis, to the Ambassador in France, No. 3345, on the same date (same file number as above); and to the Ambassador in Italy, No. 1127, Mar. 22, 3 p. m. (File No. 763.72114/3514b).
ing from British Government as British prisoners of war, and whether in case of officers British Government will require that they be given same pay as British officer prisoners of war and will refund sums expended for such payments by German Government at end of war. Would notification by German Government to this Government that such prisoners were considered by it as American prisoners of war, as has already been done in certain cases, affect their status in relation to British Government? Further, would British Government consent to food parcels being sent to such American citizens by American Red Cross from stocks at its disposal in Switzerland in case requests of relatives in the United States should render such procedure desirable ?
File No. 763.72114/3413
[Received March 23, 2.05 a. m.] 2902. Information received from German Army administration, dated February 6, through Spanish Embassy, Berlin, states captured soldiers and sailors can wear either uniform provided by own Government, or clothing furnished for prisoners by German Government, consisting of cap, coat, trousers, overcoat of dark color, necktie, and footwear Clothing must be marked with stripe of brood [Khaki?] material 10 centimeters wide on left upper arm of coat, stripe 5 centimeters wide on seams of trousers, and band on cap. Military prisoners may also wear civilian clothing of black material sent from home if materials as stated. Appropriate clothing provided for special occupations. No particular uniform required for civilian prisoners. Every prisoner wear own personal clothing. These regulations clothing noted in connection with uniforms to be sent to Berne for American prisoners.
File No. 763.72114/3425
[Received 10.34 p. m.] 2209. A committee of Dutch and American men and women has been recently formed in Amsterdam for the purpose of sending food to American prisoners in Germany. Prospective shortage of food supplies in Holland leads committee to ask you whether arrangements could be made for the supply of necessary things from the United States, the committee to bear all expense including purchase of supplies in the United States. Although they are aware that effective arrangements exist at Berne for supplying American prisoners, they claim that things can be gotten in sometimes quicker from Holland. Moreover, just at this moment when friendship for us is a heavy burden in Holland, it would seem unwise not to encourage in any way we can so fine an initiative as this. I ask your consideration, therefore, of the possibility of sending a few tons of supplies on the New Amsterdam consigned to the American section of the international work for prisoners of war, Amsterdam, or to this Legation. The committee especially desires rice, bacon, soap, coffee, and condensed milk.
File No. 763.72114/3425
WASHINGTON, March 28, 1918, 1 p. m. 1062. Your 2209, March 26, 8 p. m. This Government fully appreciates the initiative of the Dutch-American committee formed for the purpose of sending food to American prisoners in Germany and desires you to express this appreciation in appropriate terms. At the same time you should definitely discourage it from carrying out this work. Complete arrangements have already been made by this Government for feeding American prisoners from the moment of their arrival in the prison camps, at first from supplies in the hands of the local camp committees and the Young Men's Christian Association and subsequently by food packages sent regularly by the American Red Cross-Central Committee for American Prisoners established at Berne. Any parallel attempt to carry out this work would result in confusion and reduplication which this Government particularly wishes to avoid.
File No. 763.72114/3507
PARIS, April 12, 1918, 6 p. m.
[Received April 13, 12.45 a, m.] 3587. Your 3043, January 8.1 Foreign Office note today states that in compliance with the universal postal convention, article 2
*Ante, p. 18.