HC Deb 12 February 1917 vol 90 cc280-1W

asked whether the gratitude and thanks of the nation for the work done on behalf of British civilians and prisoners of war will be conveyed by the Government to the late Ambassador of the United States at the Court of Berlin at the earliest moment and in the fullest manner?


Action in the sense suggested has already been taken.

The following is the text of the Note referred to in my reply of to-day to the hon. and gallant Member for Enfield: I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency's Note of the 4th instant, No. 2706, in which Your Excellency informed, me that diplomatic relations between the United States of America and the German Empire had ceased as from 2 p.m. on the 3rd instant, and I request that Your Excellency will he good enough to convey to your Government an expression of the thanks of His Majesty's Government for the action taken by them in transferring the charge of British interests in Germany to the Netherland Minister at Berlin. I desire to take this opportunity of expressing to Your Excellency His Majesty's Government's deep appreciation of the care and devotion with which the United States Government have taken charge of British interests in Germany since the outbreak of war. His Majesty's Government are fully conscious of the immense amount of work which the care of British interests has necessarily entailed upon the staffs of the United States Embassies in London and Berlin, and they feel that they cannot value too highly the promptitude and efficiency with which that work has invariably been performed, and the unfailing tact and courtesy shown by the members of Your Excellency's staff in dealing with the care of German interests in this country. His Majesty's Government are especially grateful for all that has been done by the United States Diplomatic and Consular Officers in Germany for the British prisoners of war. There can be no doubt that their efforts have been the direct cause of a considerable improvement in the treatment of British prisoners, while the machinery devised for relief has as far as possible ameliorated the lot of those British subjects who, though not interned, have for various reasons been unable to leave Germany". His Majesty's Government fully realise that these results have not been achieved without much labour on the part of the American officials concerned, and, in some cases, in face of strenuous opposition on the part of the German authorities, and I can assure Your Excellency that the work done by the representatives of the United States of America on behalf of British subjects in hostile hands will not readily be forgotten either by His Majesty's Government or by the British people. I beg that Your Excellency will accept personally, and convey to the members of your staff, this expression of the most cordial thanks of His Majesty's Government, and that you will also be so good as to ask Your Government to express to Mr. Gerard His Majesty's Government's profound gratitude and recognition of their deep indebtedness to him and to His Excellency's staff.