Navy Department Instructions Concerning the Disposition of Prisoners of War Captured by Naval Forces in Foreign Waters
INSTRUCTIONS CONCERNING THE DISPOSITION OF PRISONERS OF WAR CAPTURED BY U. S. NAVAL FORCES IN EUROPEAN OR OTHER FOREIGN WATERS.
1. The Government of the United States holds that the several Conventions of the Hague are not, as such, operative during the existing war, but in general accepts the guiding principles upon which the provisions of those Conventions are founded.
2. The Government of the United States considers that in so far as German prisoners of war are concerned, the provisions of Article XXIV of the Treaty of Prussia of 1799 as revived by the Treaty of 1828, persist during war and are therefore binding upon this Government in the current conflict.
3. Prisoners of war captured by U.S. Naval Forces operating in European, or other foreign waters, are to be considered as prisoners of war of the United States Government.
4. They will be transferred at the first convenient opportunity to the continental territory of the United States for internment until exchange or repatriation.
5. Pending such transfer they may be temporarily held in the custody of a co-belligerent Government by agreement with that Government, subject to the provisions of Article XXIV of treaty of 1799 with Prussia, above mentioned.
6. Their maintenance will be the charge and responsibility of the United States Government.
7. Until the consummation of an agreement concerning reciprocal treatment of prisoners of war, which agreement is now in process of diplomatic negotiation with the Imperial German Government, officer prisoners will receive no pay; they will, however, be subsisted and maintained in accordance with their official rank.
8. As promptly as may be convenient after capture the Department will be notified by telegraph of the date of capture, number of officers, number of men, and vessel from which taken; and by mail a full statement of names, ranks, and other pertinent details will be transmitted.
May 9, 1918.
Source Note: Cy, DNA, RG 45, Entry 517B. Note below close: “All Ships & Stations” and “FILE” which is stamped. Identifying numbers in top left-hand corner: “28573-42, I33.”