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abandons position taken in communication to Red Cross mentioned in my telegram under reference, and requests the consent of interested governments to charging of half rates for transport of prisoners’ supplies on Swiss railways, urging financial difficulties and onerous burden due to length of war.

Swiss Government mentioned fact that privately owned railways in prisoners' own country are in a position to charge for transport while government-owned railways in foreign country are prohibited from doing so under article 16 of annex to Hague convention regulating land warfare. The note expresses a hope that United States Government will meet wishes of Swiss Government in this matter.

STOVALL

File No. 763.72114/3868

The Minister in Switzerland (Stovall) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]
BERNE, July 27, 1918, 4 p. m.

[Received July 27, 6.28 a. m.] 4104. My 4062, July 24, 9 a. m., and 4071, July 25, 9 a. m. I have received further communication from Swiss Political Department, stating that new measures regarding half rates for transport of consignments to prisoners of war will go into effect on August 1. A meeting was called this morning by British Legation and attended by representative of French Embassy, American, British, Italian, Belgian and Servian Legations, and of several relief organizations, at which it was decided to address notes to Political Department calling attention to fact that new measures affecting Hague conventions well [were] being put into effect before the Legations interested could hear from their Governments and requesting the Federal Council to postpone action until the replies of these Governments were received.

STOVALL

File No. 763.72114/3903
The Minister in Switzerland (Stovall) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram)
BERNE, August 5, 1918, 9 a. m.

[Received August 6, 10.55 p. m.] 4199. My 4062, July 24, 9 a. m., 4071, July 25, 10 a. m. [9 a. m.], and 4104, July 20 [27], 4 p. m. I have now received note from Political Department stating that Swiss Federal Council realized that consent of Governments interested was necessary before contemplated

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charge of half rate for transport on Swiss Federal railways of gifts and relief in kind to prisoners of war could go into effect.

On the other hand, the Federal Council authorized the Federal railways to charge the half rate for transport from August 1 of this year of collective consignments of foodstuffs on the ground that these consignments could not be regarded as gifts but constituted in fact the partial provisioning of prisoners of war with articles of first necessity.

In inquiry at Political Department I was informed the expression collective consignments" did not apply to the individual parcels sent to prisoners of war in large amounts by recognized relief organizations, which are regarded as gifts, but only to shipments in bulk of bread, grain and other foodstuffs of first necessity.

STOVALL

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File No. 763.72114/3868
The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Stovall)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, August 10, 1918, 4 p. m. 2430. Your 4062, July 24, 9 a. m., 4071, July 25, 9 a. m., 4104, July 27, 4 p. m. and 4199, August 5, 9 a. m. Do not join with your colleagues of cobelligerent nations in any objection which may be made by them to Swiss Government regarding charges of half rates for transport of consignments to prisoners of war, but advise Department of attitude of your colleagues after they have received instructions from their respective Governments and state what action taken by them. If they inquire as to this Government's position in the matter, you may informally advise them that the United States does not regard the Hague conventions as applicable in the present war and that, in view of all the circumstances and bearing in mind the immense burden that this transportation imposes upon a small neutral state, it would seem reasonable to assent to a charge of half rates by the Swiss Government for this service. You may inform the Swiss Political Department that the United States Government is happy to be able to meet the wishes of the Swiss Government in this matter.

POLK

File No. 763.72114A/73
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Stovall)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, August 12, 1918, 3 p. m. 2431. Your 4158, August 1, 4 p. m. Department authorizes you to request Spanish Embassy in Berlin to protest to German Govern

Not printed.

ment against the detention of American prisoners in so-called reprisal camps and to request that any American prisoners who are at present located in such camps be immediately transferred to some camp in the interior of Germany, preferably Tuchel, in view of the fact that German Government has officially stated that Tuchel is permanent camp for American prisoners.

LANSING

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File No. 763,72114A/107
The Minister in Switzerland (Stovall) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]
BERNE, August 15, 1918, 3 p. m.

[Received August 18, 1.49 p. m.] 4330. Department's 2431, August 12, 3 p. m. Have communicated with Spanish Embassy, Berlin, in the sense of Department's telegram but did not mention Tuchel as I now learn almost all American prisoners have been taken from Tuchel and the majority of American prisoners now appear to be concentrated at Rastatt which is not far from Karlsruhe. I stated to Spanish Embassy in addition(1) That Legation requested that camp at Rastatt be visited

soon as possible by representative of Spanish Embassy; (2) That as Germany has officially stated that American

prisoners were being interned at Tuchel, Legation cannot

understand why they are being transferred to Rastatt;
(3) That as the Government of the United States desires that

American prisoners be interned in camps in interior of
Germany, the American Legation trusts that Spanish
Embassy will be able to arrange for internment of these

prisoners in a good camp situated in interior of Germany. Department is aware of unsatisfactory conditions at Tuchel and I would suggest that choice of permanent camps for American prisoners in Germany be considered at Berne conference.

STOVALL

File No. 763.72114/3999

The Minister in Switzerland (Stovall) to the Secretary of State

No. 4190

BERNE, August 16, 1918.

[Received September 10.] Sir: I have the honor to enclose herewith copy and translation of a note verbale from the German Foreign Office to the Swiss Legation in Berlin, transmitted by the Royal Spanish Embassy, Berlin, relative to photographs and fingerprints being taken of German officers who are prisoners of war. I have [etc.]

PLEASANT A. STOVALL

[Enclosure-Translation] The German Foreign Office to the Swiss Legation at Berlin III b 25166. 112464.

NOTE VERBALE The Foreign Office has the honor to inform the Swiss Legation in answer to note verbale of April 19, that the sentiments of Captain Zuckschwerdt, as stated in his complaint to the Swiss Legation in Washington, are fully shared here: that the orders of the American Government that all prisoners shall be measured, photographed and their finger prints taken, are humiliating not only for officers but for all other prisoners of war and not in accord with the rules of the Hague convention for the treatment of prisoners of war.

The Foreign Office requests the Swiss Legation to support the appeal of Captain Zuckschwerdt to the American Government and protest strongly against putting prisoners of war on a footing with criminals, as in the case of the measurements and photographs referred to.

It is also requested that the American Government be informed that if this is not complied with, American prisoners in German hands or those who, in future, shall fall into their hands, will be treated in like manner and similar photographs and measurements taken.

BERLIN, July 24, 1918.

File No. 763.72114A/200
The Minister in Switzerland (Stovall) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]
BERNE, September 27, 1918, p. m.

2

[Received September 28, 10.02 p. m.] 4929. Legation's 4330, August 15, 3 p. m. and Department's 2431, August 1, 4 p. m. [August 12, 3 p. m.]. Spanish Embassy, Berlin, states according to information received from the German military authorities the American prisoners were transferred from Tuchel to Rastatt for agricultural reasons and that there are at Rastatt three camps, one each for officers, soldiers, and civilians.

STOVALL

File No. 763.72114A/215

The Minister in Switzerland (Stovall) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]
BERNE, October 4, 1918, 9 a. m.

[Received October 6, 10.23 a. m.] 5031. My 4330, August 15, 3 p. m. German Government replies as follows:

There are no reprisal camps for prisoners of war in Germany. That many camps for prisoners of war are more exposed to the dangers of attacks by bombs, which are contrary to the rights of humanity, by enemy aviators in open cities, is no reason to intern prisoners of war in more protected places in the interior of Germany. The Governments of the enemy are in a position to protect their soldiers who are in German hands from such danger. The suggestion of the American League [Legation) at Berne must therefore be rejected.

The entire subject as to the advisability of a reciprocal arrangement looking to the removal of prisoners of war on both sides to places which could under no circumstances be exposed to air attack, was carefully considered in the preliminary meetings of the American commission in Paris. General Kernan and the entire commission decided that we could not limit ourselves to such an extent as probably [regards] the German prisoners in our hands and that we reserved the right to employ German prisoners in France wherever they may be most advantageously used 30 kilometers behind the fighting front. The subject is therefore not being discussed in the Berne conference, but if at any future date information should be received which would lead to the belief that American prisoners are being deliberately exposed in places of ostentatious danger as a measure of reprisal, I shall not fail to communicate such information to the Department.

STOVALL

File No. 763.72114/3999

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Stovall)

No. 2356

WASHINGTON, October 20, 1918. Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 4190 of August 16, 1918, transmitting a copy in original and translation of a note verbale from the German Foreign Office, relative to the protest of the German Government against the practice of taking photographs and fingerprints of German officers.

In reply, you are instructed to inform the German Government, through the appropriate diplomatic channels, that a report has been received from the Secretary of War stating that all officers of the United States Army are required by General Orders, No. 17, section IV, W. D., February 13, 1918, to have their fingerprints taken, the records to be filed with The Adjutant General of the Army. The purpose of this order is to insure greater accuracy of identification.

In the view of the War Department, the practice of taking fingerprints is not inhumane, humiliating, or disrespectful in the sense of putting American officers and soldiers on a footing with criminals.

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