Cover to meet “Gripsholm”

Cover to meet “Gripsholm”

When the USA entered WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, WWII, there was a need to repatriate diplomats, civilians caught in the Far East at the wrong time, and sick and wounded prisoners of war. The USA sent a message 8th December 1941 to the US Charge d’Affaires in Berne, Switzerland to start negotiations through their Tokyo Embassy. The result of this was that the M. V. Gripsholm (a vessel from neutral Sweden) was chartered by the USA for transfers of prisoners, mail and supplies. It was agreed that the first exchange would be at the neutral port of Lorenço Marques, Portuguese Mozambique.

The Japanese had two exchange vessels. The M. V. Asama Maru left Yokohama with 416 repatriates, picking others up at Hong Kong and Saigon. The Conte Verde left Shanghai with 640 repatriates and picked others up at Singapore.

This cover was purchased in a lot of three, on E-bay. With the COVID-19 lock-down and disruption of international postage, the item was sent March 18th from the USA, with a transit time of 9 weeks.

This cover is addressed to Wilhelmina Kuyf who was a passenger with the first Diplomatic Exchange voyage leaving Lourenco Marques July 28th 1942 arriving New York August 25 1942. The passenger manifest lists her as United States Citizen. Her passport was issued Tientsin, China March 21 1941, recorded as a female aged 41.

Her address was recorded as 626 W. Allegheny Ave Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, the return address given on the cover.

The cover has a 3c USA adhesive with “PHILADELPHIA PA AUG 16 1942” slogan cancellation; Cover opened by Customs and resealed with brown tape; Purple boxed cachet “PORT of “NY” AUG 19 1942 Examined and passed “152” U.S. Customs Officer”.

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