340.1115A/542: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Belgium (Cudahy)32

46. Your 88, April 20, noon.

The duty of the Government toward its citizens in a war area is accomplished when it has advised them of the dangers of the situation and invited them to leave, while affording those who choose to go every possible assistance in obtaining transportation and such protection as may be possible to those who choose to remain. There must be no insistence upon the departure of any citizen since the Government may not compel the return of its citizens and the decision whether to remain or to depart is one for each individual himself to make. Accordingly, [Page 85] as it appears that Americans in Belgium have been given due notice of the situation and invited to return to the United States and that none who have remained is as yet desirous of proceeding, no allotment for repatriation expenses will be made to you at this time. You will, of course, present to the Department from time to time as they appear the cases of individuals desiring financial assistance for repatriation, in accordance with the instructions contained in the third paragraph of the Department’s 43.33
Persons resting under unrebutted presumption are not entitled to protection or loans.
Bona fide American women citizens with alien husbands and unmarried minor children are to receive equal treatment, with respect to repatriation loans, as men citizens having alien wives and children. However, loans are not to be made for expenses for alien spouses and children until they are properly documented for admission into the United States, after having been found to be admissible under the immigration laws. In that connection and in amplification of the third paragraph of the Department’s 43, particular attention is directed to the “public charge” provision and you are instructed that loans are not to be made for facilitating the admission into the United States of aliens who may become objects of either public or private charity, even though they be members of the immediate families of American citizens.
  1. Telegrams containing somewhat similar instructions were sent on April 26 to Norway and Denmark; on May 6 to the Netherlands; and on May 10 to Yugoslavia, with instructions to repeat to Athens, Bucharest, Budapest, Sofia and Ankara.
  2. April 16, 6 p.m., p. 73.