Page images

File No. 763.72115/3401

The Acting Secretary of State to the Swiss Minister (Sulzer)

WASHINGTON, December 11, 1918. The Acting Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Minister of Switzerland, in charge of German interests in the United States, and has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Legation's memoranda of September 161 and September 30, 1918, transmitting copies of two communications from the German Government dated August 12 and August 31 respectively, regarding the internment of German women in the United States.

In reply Mr. Polk requests Doctor Sulzer to bring to the attention of the German Government the following facts:

No general policy has been adopted by the Government of the United States calling for the internment of any considerable number of German women, nor have extensive measures been taken for their internment, and the internment of German women has not in any instance been ordered as a matter of reprisal. The United States statutes and the presidential proclamations issued in pursuance thereof, by virtue of which the power of internment is exercised by this Government, limit the application of this power to those enemy aliens who there is reasonable cause to believe are aiding or about to aid the enemy or who may be at large to the danger of the public peace or safety, or who violate or attempt to violate, or who there is reasonable ground to believe are about to violate, any regulation duly promulgated by the President, or any criminal law of the United States, or of the States or Territories thereof. Down to the present time, only 15 German women have been actually interned, although others have been temporarily detained and then released, and the Government of the United States does not contemplate any general measures of internment affecting German women or that there will be any great increase in the number of women interned.

It has been the policy of the Government of the United States not to discuss the reasons for the presidential action exercised in individual cases of internment and the United States Government must decline to furnish the German Government with any statement of the specific grounds upon which the persons in question were interned.

Under the circumstances as stated above, it would seem that if the German Government refuses a safe-conduct to American women in the absence of any facts tending to show that such American women are in any way dangerous upon the assumption that considerable

1Not printed.

numbers of German women are being interned by the Government of the United States without cause, such action by the German Government is predicated upon a complete misapprehension of the facts. The Government of the United States feels unable to give the guarantee which has been requested by the German Government in its note verbale of August 31, 1918, that German women in the United States will be exempt from any kind of internment.



File No. 763.72115/3146

The French Ambassador (Jusserand) to the Counselor for the Department of State (Polk)

WASHINGTON, May 27, 1917.

MY DEAR MR. COUNCILOR: Referring to previous conversations, the most recent of which took place yesterday, I beg to confirm what I said of the painful situation which would be that of people from Alsace-Lorraine if they were treated as Germans by the American authorities and submitted to the obligations imposed on the latter by the law recently voted by Congress. Numerous protests have been already received by this Embassy, chief among them that of the Alsatian society "Les Amis de l'Alsace-Lorraine " whose president is Mr. Clément Rueff of New York.

In the opinion of my Government, it would be appropriate, as I told you, that some necessary precautions be taken in view of preventing that these devoted friends of our common cause be confused with its enemies.

You were so good as to say that the suggestions I had submitted to you would be acted upon, so that pretended Alsatians should not avail themselves of facilities to which they are not entitled.

They are to the effect that, in each city where we have professional consuls or vice consuls (New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Galveston, New Orleans, Philadelphia) an examination be made of all people alleging that they are of Alsatian origin. With the help of the aforementioned Alsatian society, taking into account the documents produced by the interested parties, their knowledge of the Alsatian dialect, the deposition of witnesses, etc., our consuls would be able to certify to the real origin of each.

I should be much obliged to you if you were so good as to cause the police authorities in New York and in the cities above named, to be asked to kindly take into account these arrangements and to act accordingly.

Believe me [etc.]


I take the liberty of pointing out the urgent character of the advices to be given to the said authorities.


File No. 763.72115/3148

The Attorney General (Gregory) to the Secretary of State

WASHINGTON, June 7, 1917.

SIR: Further considering your letter of June 1, 1917,1 transmitting a letter from the French Ambassador,2 in which he requests that people from Alsace be not treated as Germans in respect to the enforcement of the President's proclamation of April 6, 1917, regarding alien enemies, I desire to say that the matter has been given careful consideration by this Department, and I can add nothing further to my letter of June 4, 1917.1

It seems impossible to discriminate between inhabitants of different portions of the German Empire. If Alsatian Germans shall satisfy the United States marshals that they are loyal to this country, and out of sympathy with the country of which they are native citizens or subjects, and if they are, in addition, complying with the law, they will have no difficulty in obtaining permits to leave or be employed or to pass through forbidden areas under the President's proclamation.


For the Attorney General:

CHARLES WARREN Assistant Attorney General

File No. 763.72115/3153

The Secretary of State to the Chairman of the Executive Committee, National Department of the Polish Central Relief Committee of America (Smulski)

WASHINGTON, July 23, 1917.

SIR: Referring to your letter No. 514, of June 18, 1917, in which you protest against the classification by local officials of Poles in the United States as Germans and Austrians, and to the Department's reply of June 26,1 stating that your letter had been referred to the Department of Justice, the Department transmits herewith, for your information, copy of the Attorney General's reply on the subject.

[blocks in formation]

[Enclosure 1]

The Attorney General (Gregory) to the Secretary of State

WASHINGTON, June 29, 1917.

SIR: This Department has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of June 262 submitting a request of the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Polish Central Relief Committee of America that natives, denizens, citizens or subjects of Germany or Austria who happen to be Poles may be excluded from the operation of the President's proclamation relative to alien enemies. In reply the Department has the honor to advise you that Austrian citizens other than natives of Germany, and natives of Austria other than citizens or subjects of Germany are not being classed as alien enemies. In regard to the further question of exempting those Poles who are by the terms of section 4067 of the Revised Statutes within the definition of the word "alien enemy," this Department has the honor to advise you that it must necessarily follow the law as it is now laid down in enforcing the President's proclamation. It is needless to add, however, that in the matter of granting permits to all such as are within the terms of the statute due consideration is being paid to their sympathies and affiliations in this war.


For the Attorney General:

CHARLES WARREN Assistant Attorney General

File No. 763.72115/3293

The Attorney General (Gregory) to the Secretary of State

WASHINGTON, March 22, 1918.

[Received March 23.]

DEAR MR. SECRETARY: For your information I herewith enclose copy of a letter written to me by the French Ambassador on March 18 and of my reply thereto bearing date March 22.

I also enclose one of the alien registration cards we are using. You will note the changes which the Ambassador suggested, appearing

[blocks in formation]

on pages 2, 3 and 4.1 You will also observe that I have agreed to the change suggested on page 2 of the card, though it will put my representatives to a great deal of trouble and will cause the expenditure of considerable Government funds.

Faithfully yours,

[Enclosure 1]


The French Ambassador (Jusserand) to the Attorney General


WASHINGTON, March 18, 1918.

DEAR MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 15th concerning the cards delivered to those friends of the common cause the French Alsatian-Lorrainers and in which they are described as enemy aliens.

I have considered with the greatest care the statements and explanations which you were so good as to supply me with. But, as it seems to me, the situation really and truly continues to offer the glaring anomaly and illogism which I had taken the liberty of pointing out to you.

The card must, of all necessity, be the counterpart of the registration, and must show the same statements. In the case of Alsatian. Lorrainers duly provided with a certificate of identity, countersigned by the proper French consul, you kindly recognized the appropriate ness of having the registration forms altered, so that they appear there as "French Alsatian-Lorrainers," which is what they are, and not as "enemy aliens," which is what they are not.

It seems impossible to understand how what was legitimate in one case would be inappropriate or illegal in the other, and how those men in favor of whose cause the President spoke so clearly and nobly in his address of January 8 last, would have to go about, ever bearing a card which brands them as enemy aliens."


Card not printed. In the sentence on p. 2 reading: "An alien enemy required to register shall not, after the date fixed for his registration and the issuance to him of a registration card, be found within the limits of the United States, its territories or possessions without having his registration card on his person under liability, among other penalties, to arrest and detention for the period of the war," the words "Any one " to be substituted for "An alien enemy."

Following the certificate on p. 3 stating that the registrant is "a person required by law to register under the proclamation of the President of the United States, dated November 16, 1917,” the words "being a French AlsatianLorrainer" to be added.

In the note on p. 4 reading: "The issuance of this registration card does not relieve the registrant from full compliance with any and all laws and regulations now existing or hereafter made concerning the conduct of alien enemies," the words " said registrant to be substituted for "alien enemies."

2 Supplement 1, vol. I, p. 12.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »