The German Chargé d'Affaires, Dr. Hans Thomsen,
and the First Secretary of the German Embassy, Mr. von Strempel, called
at the State Department at 8:00 A.M. on December 11, 1941. The
Secretary, otherwise engaged, directed that they be received by the
Chief of the European Division of the State Department, Mr. Ray Atherton.
Mr. Atherton received the German representatives at 9:30 A.M.
The German representatives handed to Mr. Atherton a
copy of a note that is being delivered this morning, December 11, to
the American Chargé d'Affaires in Berlin. Dr. Thomsen said that
Germany considers herself in a state of war with the United States.
He asked that the appropriate measures be taken for the departure of
himself, the members of the German Embassy, and his staff in this country.
He reminded Mr. Atherton that the German Government had previously expressed
its willingness to grant the same treatment to American press correspondents
in Germany as that accorded the American official staff on a reciprocal
basis and added that he assumed that the departure of other American
citizens from Germany would be permitted on the same basis of German
citizens desiring to leave this country. He referred to the exchange
of civilians that had been arranged at the time Great Britain and Germany
broke off diplomatic relations.
The German Chargé d'Affaires then stated that
the Swiss Government would take over German interests in this country
and that Dr. Bruggmann had already received appropriate instructions
from his Government.
He then handed Mr. Atherton a note from the German
Government. Mr. Atherton stated that in accepting this note from the
German Chargé d'Affaires he was merely formalizing the realization
that the Government and people of this country had faced since the outbreak
of the war in 1939 of the threat and purposes of the German Government
and the Nazi regime toward this hemisphere and our free American civilization.
Mr. Atherton then said that this Government would arrange
for the delivery of Dr. Thomsen's passports and that he assumed that
we would very shortly be in communication with the Swiss Minister. He
added that Dr. Thomsen must realize, however, that the physical difficulties
of the situation would demand a certain amount of time in working out
this reciprocal arrangement for the departure of the missions of the
two countries. The German representatives then took their leave.
The text of the note which the German representatives
handed to Mr. Ray Atherton, Chief of the European Division of the State
Department, at 9:30 A.M., December 11, the original of which had been
delivered the morning of December 11 to the American Chargé d'Affaires
in Berlin, follows:
MR. CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES:
The Government of the United States having violated
in the most flagrant manner and in ever increasing measure all rules
of neutrality in favor of the adversaries of Germany and having continually
been guilty of the most severe provocations toward Germany ever since
the outbreak of the European war, provoked by the British declaration
of war against Germany on September 3, 1939, has finally resorted to
open military acts of aggression.
On September 11, 1941, the President of the United
States publicly declared that he had ordered the American Navy and Air
Force to shoot on sight at any German war vessel. In his speech of October
27, 1941, he once more expressly affirmed that this order was in force.
Acting under this order, vessels of the American Navy, since early September
1941, have systematically attacked German naval forces. Thus, American
destroyers, as for instance the Greer, the Kearney and
the Reuben James, have opened fire on German sub-marines according
to plan. The Secretary of the American Navy, Mr. Knox, himself confirmed
that-American destroyers attacked German submarines.
Furthermore, the naval forces of the United States,
under order of their Government and contrary to international law have
treated and seized German merchant vessels on the high seas as enemy
The German Government therefore establishes the following
Although Germany on her part has strictly adhered to
the rules of international law in her relations with the United States
during every period of the present war, the Government of the United
States from initial violations of neutrality has finally proceeded to
open acts of war against Germany. The Government of the United States
has thereby virtually created a state of war.
The German Government, consequently, discontinues diplomatic
relations with the United States of America and declares that under
these circumstances brought about by President Roosevelt Germany too,
as from today, considers herself as being in a state of war with the
United States of America.
Accept, Mr. Chargé d'Affaires, the expression
of my high consideration.
December 11, 1941.
See also Hitler
Declares War on the United States