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With reference to the closing statement of the note verbale of the Foreign Office that if its protest is not heeded American prisoners in German hands will be treated in like manner and similar fingerprints and measurements taken, you are instructed to state that the War Department will not only not object to such action but will welcome it as being in keeping with its own policy. I am [etc.]
For the Secretary of State:
FRANK L. POLK
p. m. 3272. Your 5375, October 24, 1 p. m. Department instructs you to request Spanish Embassy, Berlin, to protest vigorously to German Government against
(1) Forcing any American prisoners of war to work in mines; (2) Compelling any American prisoners of war to work while
ill or not physically fit to do so; (3) Compelling any American civilian prisoners to work at all
except in connection with their own care and upkeep and
the care and upkeep of their own quarters. Spanish Embassy should insist that American prisoners be immediately freed from labor in mines and from all work when physically unfit to work.
Spanish Embassy should also insist that the robbing and loss of parcels must cease. The United States Government is not disposed to accept attempts of German Government to throw blame of nonreceipt of parcels upon agencies handling same prior to arrival in Germany.
Spanish Embassy should also insist that all American merchant marine officers at Brandenburg be removed to officers' camp and should call to attention of German Government that, despite fact German Government stated through the Prussian War Ministry that David Johnson would be transferred, he is still there according to latest information. It should also be brought to attention of German Government that German merchant marine personnel interned in United States only do work connected with their own care and upkeep and care and upkeep of their own quarters.
In view of the latter situation in this country, it is not considered advisable to protest against forcing Captain Oliver and Chief Mate Richardson to draw a cart in which parcels were taken to camp.
ARRANGEMENT FOR PAYMENT OF OFFICERS
File No. 763.72114/2738a
WASHINGTON, June 12, 1917, 5 p. m. 524. Paraphrase for Berlin. Please ask Foreign Office to state intentions of German Government in regard to the pay of American naval and military officers who may be taken prisoners of war by German forces.
Please state to Foreign Office that, if the German Government will agree to take action on a reciprocal basis, this Government will grant to all German naval and military officers taken prisoners of war the same rate of pay as officers of corresponding rank in the United States Army. The money thus paid out will be entered as a charge against the German Government which will agree ultimately to refund such payments. Please cable reply of German Government as soon as possible.
File No. 763.72114/3053a
WASHINGTON, November 17, 1917, 4 p. m. 753. Department's 524, June 12, 5 p. m. Since no answer received from German Government to proposition contained in above telegram, request Spanish Embassy, Berlin, bring following by telegraph to attention German Foreign Office:
Provided German Government will pay to officers of United States forces held prisoners of war by Germany the maximum rate that the German Government pays its own officers of corresponding rank, the Government of the United States will pay to officers of German military or naval forces now or hereafter prisoners of war of the United States forces an equivalent sum. The Government of the United States therefore requests that the German Government furnish it immediately with a statement of the maximum rates that it now pays its officers of all ranks. If the German Government is not disposed to accept this proposal or in any way to make reply thereto before December 15, the Government of the United States will feel itself obliged to discontinue payments now being made to German officers prisoners in the United States until an absolute assurance of reciprocity, in accordance with the above terms, is received.
In case of such assurance the money thus paid out will be entered as a charge against the German Government which must agree to refund such payments on a mutual adjustment of accounts at end of
File No. 763.72114/3124
[Received 10 p. m.] 942. Department's 753, November 17, 4 p. m. Spanish Ambassador, Berlin, reports German Government on 15th instant, through German Legation, Berne, sent note stating it was disposed to come to an agreement with Government of the United States concerning pay of prisoners of war and would send shortly a detailed reply to the American proposal.
File No. 763.72114/3163
The Secretary of War (Baker) to the Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, January 4, 1918. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication of December 27, 1917, concerning the report that the German Government has expressed its willingness to come to an agreement with the United States regarding the payment of commissioned officers held prisoners of war.
In the absence of any advice on this subject before December 15, instructions were issued to the commandants of the different war prisoner barracks to discontinue any such payments until some agreement relative thereto was concluded with Germany.
It is believed advisable to allow these instructions to remain in force until an agreement on this question is actually concluded, as the stoppage of any payments, to German officers held prisoners by us, will make it to the interest of their Government to facilitate action on this agreement.
The War Department can see no objection to a provision in this agreement that the pay decided upon shall take effect on the date that previous payments were discontinued, if such a provision is desired by the German Government. Very sincerely,
NEWTON D. BAKER
File No. 763.72114/3315
WASHINGTON, February 23, 1918,5 p. m. 1488. Your 2672, February 19, 10 a. m.” Swiss Legation, Washington, has not received despatch of German Government regarding
Not printed; see preceding telegram.
pay of officers. Please telegraph summary of important points of this despatch immediately.
File No. 763.72114/3336
The Chargé in Switzerland (Wilson) to the Secretary of State
BERNE, February 27, 1918, 10 a. m.
[Received February 28, 5.56 a. m.] 2735. Department's 1488, February 23. I did not cable proposals previously as original note of which copy received through Spanish Legation was sent by German Foreign Office to Swiss Legation, Berlin, with request for speediest possible transmission. Am now informed note was mailed from here February 16.
German note dated February 101 states willingness to conclude agreement. Suggests that same arrangements be made as concluded between British and Germans, dividing officers into two classes for the purpose of pay: one, subalterns; two, captains and higher grades. Class one to be paid $83.35 and class two $95.25 monthly, being 350 marks and 400 marks respectively at rate of 4.20. Account lower cost of living, American officer prisoners will need only in class one 160 marks, class two 250 marks, respectively. Under German-British agreements British officer prisoners in Germany paid less with consent of British Government than Germans in England and considered undesirable to allow American officers more than other Entente officers in Germany, but should America not agree, Germany notwithstanding doubtless willing to make payments equal to rates proposed above for Germans in America.
Payments not only to be made to active German officers but to interned Germans of military rank on leave, in reserve units, and in retirement. If any question, status to be decided by prisoner's own Government. German Government binds itself expressly to repay amounts paid under last categories after war.
Noncommissioned officers and privates entitled to free food, lodging and clothing. Germany would appreciate treatment of those in class three consisting of temporary officers and temporary officials of German Army and Navy, as well as naval engineer aspirants, naval paymaster aspirants, naval warrant officers and vice warrant officers, similar to that accorded to officers, and will assure reciprocity this regard. Such treatment would be including detention in especial camps and payment of two-thirds of rates established as above
for the class one. Sums so paid to be returned after end of war. Special regulations proposed for the class three as follows:
(1) Any prisoner supported by the state to receive only $19.00 or 18 marks cash. Remainder to be kept by state which then is to supply quarters and food similar to that of maximum one above.
(2) If prisoner pays for own food, none of his pay to be taken by state and certain furniture and privileges to be provided, namely, bed with bedding, chair, cupboard or box with lock, table, washing utensils, tumbler, pail, sufficient light and heat, requisites for cleaning room.
(3) In case of hospital treatment two-thirds of pay to be kept by state, remainder to be paid prisoner and quarters and food similar those accorded regular officers.
(1) Privates of prisoners' nationality to be assigned as servants to prisoners class three.
File No. 763.72114/3336
WASHINGTON, April 5, 1918, 6 p. m. 1728. Your 2735, February 27, 10 a. m. Request Spanish Embassy, Berlin, to convey to German Government the following statement in reply to the proposal contained in its note verbale to Spanish Embassy of February 101 regarding pay of officers:
The Government of the United States is disposed to accept the proposal of the German Government that for purposes of pay officers be divided into two classes : (1) Navy-Lieutenants (junior grade), ensigns, chief warrant
officers, warrant officers, and similar officers and warrant
officers of Marine Corps.
Army-First and second lieutenants. (2) Navy-All officers, line and staff of and above the rank of
lieutenant (senior grade) and officers of the Marine Corps
of corresponding assimilated rank.
Army-Captains and higher grade officers. The Government of the United States desires also to include in class one all of the personnel enumerated in class three of the proposal of the German Government and will on assurance of reciprocity afford that personnel the same treatment and pay as the personnel enumerated above in class one.
The Government of the United States agrees on the basis of complete reciprocity to pay to the personnel of class one the equivalent of 350 marks at 4.20 or $83.35 per month and to the personnel of class two the equivalent of 400 marks, at 4.20 or $95.25 per month.
The Government of the United States agrees on the basis of complete reciprocity to pay interned Germans of military rank on leave,
Not printed; for summary of contents, see telegram from the Chargé in Switzerland, supra.