760c.61/163: Telegram

The Commissioner at Berlin ( Dresel ) to the Secretary of State


945. Vorwärts printed yesterday an appeal calling upon workmen to be on their guard against danger that German neutrality may be violated. Associated Press transmitted this message, so the Department has noticed it. This proclamation is the first time in the history of the organized labor movement in Germany in which all elements have acted together, Communists, majority and independent Socialists, and trade unions being united. It reveals that there is a solidarity of labor sentiment and grim consequences threaten if its warnings are not heeded. Reactionaries and also a large proportion of the middle parties share in this sentiment.

The convictions which I expressed yesterday in my telegram no. 93512 are strengthened by this appeal. I believe that we should refuse to approve a policy allowing transport through Germany of Entente material and troops, even if it seems that Poland’s fate depends entirely on such transport. Public sentiment among workmen is so united now that an attempt at transport would bring on strikes and probably armed opposition and railway destruction to such an extent as to force Germany openly to take the side of the Soviets and then all Europe would be in a blaze again. This opposition would be aroused no matter what were the concessions made by the Entente or the views of the German Government.

It is remotely possible that existing conditions may be altered by certain factors. A changed sentiment might be brought about by too severe terms of peace for Poland. Such a change would almost surely be wrought by a Bolshevik invasion of German territory. But I cannot too strongly stress my profound conviction that as things now are, an Entente violation of German neutrality would be resisted to the utmost by the vast majority of the people of Germany. The moment is filled with utterances presaging disaster if false steps are taken.

  1. Not printed.