The ambassador was withdrawn on 16 November 1938. The Charge d'Affair
was then responsible for US interests in Germany.
On 11 December 1941 Germany declared war on the US. All staff were
ordered to report at the embassy at 8 a.m., 14 December 1941. There
they found it occupied by the Gestapo. They were all then interred
until April the following year.
The First and Third Secretaries in the embassy at that time both refer
to the small number of staff. Some of the staff including secretaries,
were American citizens, but there is one reference to a German Jewish
Secretary. There is also mention of the fear of microphones and
conversations being overhead, so German nationals must still have had
access to the building at this time and would be suspected of planting
them (my thoughts).
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum
"Relations with Germany also suffered as a consequence of Nazi
behavior at home. On November 16, 1938, for example, U.S. Secretary of
State Cordell Hull recalled the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Hugh R.
Wilson, in protest over "Kristallnacht" -- the Nazi pogrom against the
Jews. The Germans responded in kind, and from this date forward, until
the German declaration of war on the United States on December 11,
1941, matters at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and the German Embassy in
Washington were handled by the two nation's respective Charge
US State Department ? Ambassadors to Germany
"Name: Hugh R. Wilson
State of Residency: Illinois
Foreign Service officer
Title: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Appointment: Jan 17, 1938
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 3, 1938
Termination of Mission: Left post, Nov 16, 1938
Note: Commissioned to Germany.
Note: During the period 1938-1941 each of the following served as
Chargé d?Affaires ad interim: Alexander C. Kirk (May 1939-Oct 1940)
and Leland B. Morris (Oct 1940-Dec 1941). Morris was serving as Chargé
d?Affaires ad interim when Germany declared war on the United States
Dec 11, 1941."
From the web site: Traces
"TRACES is a non-profit educational organization created to gather,
preserve and present stories of people from the Midwest and Germany or
Austria who encountered each other during World War II."
The life of George F Kennan.
George F. Kennan, first secretary to the ambassador in Berlin from
1939 to his internment in 1941 and release five months later. (Kennan
later became a successful post-war diplomat and writer)
"....he soon discovered that the U.S. embassy in Germany ?was faced at
that moment with formidable administrative problems for which the
department had made no adequate provisions.? Besides attending to the
concerns of U.S. Americans in Germany and representing Washington in
the German capital, the embassy had accepted many of the former
responsibilities of the French and British embassies: ?the protection
of their nationals, their diplomatic property, their prisoners of war,
and the tasks connected with the exchange of their official personnel.
And in addition to this? Kennan noted, ?there were many new problems
affecting American interests themselves.? In short, the U.S. embassy
became overwhelmed by the diplomatic concerns and duties of war."
"....Under such conditions the U.S. embassy?s job of executing its
myriad duties became nearly impossible. Kennan commented that ?getting
night-duty personnel back and forth between their homes and the
embassy and in meeting couriers and other travelers who arrived at
night at remote suburban stations [as long-distance trains had
discontinued service into the city after the British began bombing
Berlin] can easily be imagined. They were heightened by the fact? he
complained, ?that when the war began the embassy possessed not a
single official vehicle, nor would the government buy it one.?
Instead, Alexander Kirk, the embassy?s charge d?affaires
?contemptuously? purchased with his own money a Renault and a small
And on the closing of the embassy
"....On Sunday morning, 14 December all staff and their families
collected at the embassy ?only to find the building, inside and out,
already guarded by members of the Gestapo, and ourselves their
prisoners.? Then, the entire assemblage moved by bus and rail to Bad
Nauheim, near Frankfurt am Main."
Some of his letters for this period appear at
Kennan wrote several books and the answer may appear in his memoirs.
Sketches from Life by George F Kennan
"Early diary entries fitfully record his bleak stays in Berlin and
Moscow in the 1930s and '40s" (extract from the review of the book)
Oral History Interview with Perry Laukhuff, third secretary, American
Embassy, Berlin, 1940-41
"My secretary in the Embassy was a German woman who was a Jewess and
whose bitterness and despair day-by-day grew deeper and were terribly,
you know, sad. She disappeared during the war (after we left). I'm
sure she and her husband were taken off to be liquidated. No one ever
knew what happened to them. I think without exception, at the Embassy,
we were tremendously anti-Germany and pro-Allied, but of course, we
didn't show that in our official dealings so much."
"We had allied real estate all over Europe from Norway to Greece, to
try to handle by mail and see that there were caretakers and the
property was taken care of and the bills were paid and all that sort
of thing, and it was a hopeless job; we had a very small staff to deal
However, as U.S.-German relations deteriorated in the late 1930s and
World War II spread across globe, the Nazi authorities ordered the
closure of the Leipzig consulate general, which shut down on July 10,
I hope this answers your question. If it does not, or the answer is
unclear, then please ask for clarification of this research before
rating the answer. I shall respond to the clarification request as
soon as I receive it.
Thank you and best wishes for the New Year.
"Leland Morris" embassy
"Leland Morris" germany
berlin "embassy" us war 1941
germany "embassy" us closed 1941
and others on the specific names.