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or peanut butter, one pound chocolate, three-quarters pound sugar, one pound cheese, two pounds biscuits, half pound syrup, half pound coffee. First five items will be invariably maintained to which will be added [in different combinations] and in quantities varying from one-quarter to one pound, sugar, cheese, rice, sardines, bacon, codfish, cocoa, chocolate, biscuits, syrups, figs, dates, prunes, salt, jam, and soap, completing 10 pounds total weight. Sugar now included in weekly bread shipments will then be discontinued. Would suggest that bacon, sweet biscuits, and dried vegetables be added to list Castle drafted July 13. In case number of prisoners considerable, freight cars would be chartered. French Bureau has also offered space on their cars.
Second. Committee inclined to question, in view of its opinion as to forwarding of army rations, whether at this juncture [it is] necessary to accredit agents to military bodies. If Department still thinks advisable, suggest Reginald Foster, now in Paris, give me names proposed by American Red Cross, Washington or Paris, satisfactory to this Committee.
Third. Not believed that shipping of army rations advisable, as fresh complications would be introduced and as prisoners can be supplied from England until foodstuffs received here in bulk.
Fourth. Committee considers essential that work of supplying prisoners with food and clothing should be performed exclusively by the Red Cross and by this Committee as its agent. The Young Men's Christian Association representative for Switzerland fully concurs in this opinion and it is supported by previous experience of other committees. Scope of apportionment leads to great confusion as prisoners are being constantly shifted. If number of prisoners large, neutral representatives could be appointed by American Red Cross, but surely quite unnecessary for long time to come. British and French Bureaus by preference work through camp committees whose chairman is usually responsible noncommissioned officer, and this Committee plans to get additional information [as] precedent for American prisoners by this means. Believed that educational and religious work among prisoners as well as supplying them with amusement is highly important and should be province of Association to exclusion of material matters. This Committee is keeping in close touch with Young Men's Christian Association at Geneva. Written despatch follows.
File No. 763.72114/2900
The Chargé in Switzerland (Wilson) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 20, 10.35 a. m.] 1670. Department's 813, August 1 , Legation's 1510, August 24. In addition to 10 points mentioned for eventual agreement suggest : (11) Distinct understanding that noncommissioned officers
should not be obliged to work except in supervision of the men, and that no pressure direct or indirect should
be brought to bear to compel them to labor. (12) American prisoners to be kept in one camp as far as pos
sible and in separate barracks. (13) Very desirable that prisoners should be permitted to
return from work every night to main camp. (14) Tinned goods not to be opened before delivery to prisoners.
(15) Men should be allowed cooking facilities such as gas stoves. Am informed by Hoffmann, American representative of Christian Association in Berlin who came to Berne September 16, that attitude of German War Ministry is conciliatory towards American prisoners in view of large number of Germans in the United States, and that German Government may be willing to allow them special privileges if reciprocity assured. If endeavor made to secure these, would perhaps be advisable not to work through Spanish Embassy on account of its representation of other interests not having such privileges, but as suggested in Legation's 1510 by means of special commissioners.
File No. 763.72114/2923
WASHINGTON, November 15, 1917. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of September 26, 1917, in which you suggest that an attempt be made to arrange a conference at The Hague or Berne between delegates representing the Governments of the United States and Germany for the purpose of concluding one general agreement covering all questions governing the treatment of prisoners of war.
Although fully aware of the practical advantages which might result from the holding of such a conference I believe that from the political point of view this would be inexpedient at the present time and I am accordingly unable to favor taking steps to that end. I believe, however, that it is advisable to come to some definite agreement with the German Government regarding the various points taken up in your letter and I suggest therefore that this be done by diplomatic negotiation through the good offices of the Spanish Government which is in charge of our interests in Germany.
* Not printed.
In this connection I have the honor to observe that proposed drafts for reciprocal agreements have already been drawn up governing the transmission of mail, money orders and parcels for prisoners of war, as well as the privileges to be granted to the diplomatic representative of the protecting power covering the inspection of prison camps, and that these proposed drafts have received the approval of your Department as well as of the other Departments directly interested therein. I therefore suggest that it would be advisable to draw up proposed drafts of reciprocal agreements covering all of the other points mentioned in your letter of September 26, dealing with the maintenance and care of prisoners of war, in order that they may be forwarded to the German Government without further delay.
I should also be glad to receive an expression of your views as to whether you consider it more expedient to combine all of these drafts in one general agreement or whether each should be forwarded to the German Government separately. I have [etc.]
File No. 763.72114/3099
The Chargé in Switzerland (Wilson) to the Secretary of State
BERNE, December 11, 1917, 5 p. m.
[Received December 13, 7.25 a. m.] 2213. My 1510, August 24, regard proposed conference with Germany on prisoner matters. Two such conferences now being held Berne. First, between British and Turks, takes place one room, four British delegates, of whom two Foreign Office, two military, five Turks, sitting under presidency of Swiss military surgeon, Colonel Hauser, also representative Swiss Red Cross present. Delegates address chair, not each other. Subjects treated are: (1) general treatment prisoners; (2) release of invalids; (3) exchange of civilians. Progress slow as important questions referred to both Governments. Second, between French and Germans, also held under chairmanship of Colonel Hauser but delegates do not meet personally though occupying adjacent offices in same building. Swiss chairman serves as medium. Method appears cumbrous and
wasteful of time but considered advisable by French Government. Two French delegates, both Foreign Office specialists in prisoner matters, including Panafieu, ex-minister; three German, of whom two military, one Foreign Office. This conference so far has only considered questions of exchange and release but expects to take up general treatment and other topics later. Both conferences likely to last some weeks. Recommend serious consideration of similar scheme to reach agreement for our prisoners. Berne or Geneva probably best place for meeting and believed Swiss officials from previous experience especially suited to act as intermediaries. Am advised that Spanish Embassy, Berlin, has created new special department for American prisoners in charge of Minister Delgado, who expresses anxiety to comply with our wishes in every respect and has already suggested that all American prisoners be housed in separate camp.
File No. 763.72114/3154
The Secretary of War (Baker) to the Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, December 28, 1917.
[Received January 4, 1918.] Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of November 15, 1917, in which you suggest the inexpediency, from a political point of view, of holding a conference between delegates representing the Governments of the United States and Germany for the purpose of concluding a general agreement covering all questions governing the treatment of prisoners of war, and wherein the opinion of the War Department is desired as to the advisability of covering these questions by separate agreements, or by one general agreement.
The War Department is of belief that, if possible, all of the points covering the treatment of prisoners of war should be combined in one general agreement and it is suggested that the proposed drafts for reciprocal agreements governing the transmission of mail, money orders and parcels for prisoners of war, as well as the privileges to be granted to the diplomatic representative of the protecting power covering the inspection of prison camps, that were previously sent you from this Department be not considered, and it is further suggested that the attached proposed agreement 1 covering all of the questions to be settled be substituted therefor. Respectfully,
NEWTON D. BAKER
* Not printed.
File No. 763.72114/3206
American Red Cross (Bowie) to the Secretary of State
WASHINGTON, January 17, 1918.
[Received January 19.] SIR: We beg leave to call the attention of the State Department to the fact that until some treaty is negotiated between America and Germany covering the treatment and care of American prisoners, it will not be possible for the American Red Cross(1) To provide for the transmission of moneys to Americans
held in Germany; (2) To make provision adequately assuring the supervision
essential to a proper distribution of food supplies; and (3) To provide for communication between prisoners and their
families. We respectfully urge upon the attention of the State Department that, in order to permit the Red Cross to perform its proper function in protecting and providing for the care of American prisoners of war in Germany, it is essential that some treaty be negotiated either similar to that negotiated between Germany and Great Britain in November, 1917, or, if possible, a broader treaty similar to the Copenhagen conference of October and November, 1917, in which Germany, Austria-Hungary, Roumania, Russia, and Turkey participated. Respectfully yours,
JOHN F. BOWIE
File No. 703.72114/3206
The Secretary of State to the American Red Cross
WASHINGTON, January 26, 1918. GENTLEMEN : Replying to your letter of January 17, 1918, suggesting the advisability of effecting an arrangement between the United States and Germany covering the treatment and care of American prisoners, I take pleasure in informing you that this matter is having the careful consideration both of this Department and the War Department. For various reasons, a personal conference with representatives of the German Government, such as was held at The Hague in November between British and German delegates, is not considered advisable. A draft of a proposed arrangement to be submitted to the German Government through Spanish diplomatic channels is, however, being formulated and should soon be ready to send forward. This draft will cover ques