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File No. 763.72115/3101

The Minister in Panama (Price) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]

PANAMA, April 12, 1917, 12 noon.

[Received 3 p. m.] Panaman police today apprehended simultaneously about 30 Germans in Panama and Colon who were definitely suspected of improper activities. A few United States troops were present to preserve order. The Germans will be interned for the present at Taboga Island. At the same time officers and crews of the German vessels at Cristobal were taken from the Canal Zone to Taboga, where they will be comfortably quartered in the United States Governmentowned hotel. Cable reports of these facts will be censored. This action does not cause me to alter recommendations of my cablegram of April 9,7 p. m.

PRICE

File No. 763.72114/3965

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Panama (Price)

[Telegram]

WASHINGTON, April 12, 1917, 4 p. m. Your April 3, 9 p. m. War Department has cabled Governor of Canal Zone that President does not regard with favor internment or sequestration of German subjects and their families, and if present military force is insufficient for protection of Canal Zone, addi. tional troops will be furnished.

LANSING

File No. 862.20219/55

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Panama (Price)

No. 390

WASHINGTON, June 21, 1917. Sir: The Department has received your No. 1388 of May 15, 1917, confidential, enclosing a copy of a note from the Panaman Foreign Office forwarding a complaint of the Consul of Sweden, accredited to Panama, concerning the internment of Oscar W. Eliassen with the Germans at Taboga Island."

In reply I have to say that you are authorized to advise the Panaman Minister for Foreign Affairs that this Government will hold Panama harmless against loss on account of having heretofore interned persons in conformity with this Government's desire, provided this Government shall be kept informed of the proceedings of claimants and be satisfied that the Government of Panama resisted their claims in good faith. I am [etc.]

*Not printed.

ROBERT LANSING

File No. 763.72114/3515
The Minister in Panama (Price) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]
PANAMA, April 16, 1918, 4 p. m.

[Received 11.19 p. m.] War Department on April 11 telegraphed Commanding General, Panama Canal Department, to transfer interns at Taboga Island to New York and abandon former as internment camp. Transport sails Friday on which they have been ordered sent. Upon being authorized yesterday, I promptly informed Panaman Minister for Foreign Affairs of it. He requested a formal note and stated he would make response after consulting Panaman President and Cabinet, and that he would expect Panama's jurisdiction in the matter of these interns, and that they were Panaman interns, as distinguished from American interns, to be recognized by us. I have submitted note after approval by Commanding General, simply stating that transfer had been found necessary as a military measure and expressing the confidence that as heretofore Panama would accord with the judgment of those upon whom responsibility for protection of Panama and the Canal rested. I anticipate no real trouble from Panama except insistence upon recognition of the technical rights mentioned. It would seem Commanding General and Judge Advocate and advisers, while not yet agreeing that the above insistence of Panaman Minister for Foreign Affairs should be recog. nized, if asserted in response to my note, feel that the reservation mentioned must by all means be maintained. I refer to Department's instruction of June 21, 1917, No. 390.

We have accepted that statement, have recognized same, and can do so as requested without prejudice, except that in the practical application of the same or equal rights claimed by us in war time in such matters in relations with Panama, the reservation should be maintained that our judgment and will must prevail in the event of non-accord. Told Panama we would leave Frieda Bartel and child with them under the terms heretofore designated. Instructions will be expected if issue is made.

PRICE

File No. 763.72114/3522

The Minister in Panama (Price) to the Secretary of State

[Telegram]

PANAMA, April 19, 1918, 10 a. m.

[Received 5.35 p. m.] Supplementing my cablegram of April 16, 4 p. m. After conference arranged by me between Panaman President and advisers, Commanding General, and myself, agreement was reached that the legal status of interns at Taboga with respect to our two Governments shall not be changed by their transfer to the United States and that the rights of our respective Governments with reference to said interns, whatever they may be, shall not be forfeited or altered and that the agreement authorized by Department's instruction of June 21, 1917, No. 390, shall not be changed thereby. Formal note passed to said effect, and interns including Bartel and child will be sent by transport sailing this afternoon. [Omission) accord but the Panaman Government obtained point by virtue of above agreement. Commanding General also agreed informally at the request of Panaman authorities to receive and keep remainder of Germans in Panama if Panaman authorities later should arrest and intern them as reprisals on account of the interns [internment?] by Germany of their three Panaman students and of two other Panamans just heard of.

PRICE

File No. 763.72114/4062

The Swiss Chargé (Hübscher) to the Secretary of State

Department of German

WASHINGTON, June 12, 1918. Interests 8-L

[Received June 17.] Sir: By direction of my Government, I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the German Government enters formal protest against the deportation to the United States of German subjects residing at Panama and holds the Government of the United States responsible for all injury sustained thereby to life, health and property. Accept [etc.]

CARL P. HÜBSCHER

File No. 763.72114/3546
The Secretary of State to the Secretary of War (Baker)

WASIIINGTON, June 18, 1918. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of April 27, 1918, transmitting a paraphrase of a telegram dated April 10, 1918, from the Commanding General, Panama Canal Department, stating that the Spanish Vice Consul in charge of German interests claims that aliens interned on Taboga Island are interned by the Republic of Panama and not by the United States, and questioning the jurisdiction of this Government in the premises. You transmit a memorandum 1 by Col. Herbert A. White, formerly Judge Advocate of the Panama Canal Department, who is familiar with the details concerning the internment of these aliens and you state that in pursuance of a proposal to remove these interns to the United States in order that Taboga Island may revert to its previous status as a place of recuperation for employees of the Panama Canal Zone, these interned aliens sailed for the United States April 19, 1918. In view of the question of jurisdiction raised by the representative of German interests, you request an expression of the views of this Department in the premises.

In reply I beg to advise you that in view of all the circumstances it would seem possible and proper for the United States to accept the custody of civil interns held by Panama, and to hold them as Panamanian interns rather than as American interns, by and under an informal arrangement with Panama, unless there is some provision or doctrine of military law which would make such construction illegal or inexpedient—a point which, the Department assumes, has already been considered by the War Department. I have [etc.]

ROBERT LANSING

File No. 311.62/1895

The Swiss Chargé (Hübscher) to the Secretary of State
Department of
German Interests

MEMORANDUM
I-d-11

The Chargé d'Affaires a. i., of Switzerland, representing German interests in the United States, presents his compliments to the Secretary of State, and has the honor to enclose copy of a note verbale which the German Government forwarded through the Swiss Foreign Office, for transmission to the United States Government protesting against the treatment of German subjects in the Dominican Republic. WASHINGTON, June 1, 1918.

[Received June 29.]

*Not printed.

[Enclosure—Translation] The German Foreign Office to the Swiss Legation at Berlin No. III-B-17641 74571

NOTE VERBALE

The German Government understands that the Germans in the Dominican Republic are subjected to the most shameful treatment by the local authorities. The most respectable members of the German colony are even thrown into prison without apparent cause. From what has been learned here, the German Government has not the least doubt that the Dominican authorities are so acting under the pressure of the Government of the United States of America.

The Foreign Office would be thankful to the Swiss Legation if it would use its good offices in having the Swiss Legation at Washington instructed by cable to lodge with the Government there an emphatic protest against these proceedings.

It must also be asked that it be made clear to that Government that the German Government will hold it responsible for any injury that the Germans herein referred to may suffer in their life, health, or property from the outrageous proceeding of the Dominican authorities.

BERLIN, May 16, 1918.

File No. 763.72114/3911

The Swiss Chargé (Hübscher) to the Secretary of State
Department of German
Interests VIII-L-2

The Chargé d'Affaires a. i. of Switzerland, representing German interests in the United States, presents his compliments to the Secretary of State, and referring to his note of June 24, 1918,1 has the honor to enclose copy of a note verbale of the German Government, transmitted to this Legation by the Swiss Foreign Office, regarding the protest against the internment in Fort La Cabaña, Havana, of German subjects residing in Cuba.

The Chargé d'Affaires a. i. would esteem it a great courtesy if His Excellency would be kind enough to inform him of the decision taken in this matter. WASHINGTON, August 7, 1918.

[Received August 10.]

* Not printed.

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