862t.01/374: Telegram

The Unofficial Observer on the Rhineland High Commission (Allen) to the Secretary of State

My associates on the Commission formally state they consider the departure of the flag from the Rhineland a distinct loss to the interests of peace and stabilization not measured alone by the general good being done by our presence but also by the unfortunate status our departure will create. They are unanimous in asking that the flag remain regardless of the size of its guard and say their Governments will make representation at Washington accordingly. They earnestly hope that our representation on High Commission [will] continue officially or unofficially, with or without troops. At his request two weeks ago the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rathenau, sent his personal representative with Prince Hatzfeldt39 to consult with me bringing a draft of cable to Secretary of State urging retention of troops and official representation on the Commission. It states: [Page 214]

“Proposed withdrawal is causing great anxiety to population of Rhineland and the frontier [German Government]. The American authorities of occupation have distinguished themselves by impartial [use] of the privileges allotted them by the occupation. This is of great value because Coblenz is the most important center of German and Prussian provincial authority and its occupation has special political importance for the whole Rhineland. This consideration causes German Government to request American Government not to withdraw completely from the occupation of Rhineland in favor of occupation by any other power. It is desirable that the impartial and moderating influence of the American power of occupation should be asserted soon by official representation on the High Commission.”

I deem it my duty to submit my opinion relative to our evacuation. There is no doubt that the complete withdrawal of the moderating and stabilizing influence of the American representation in the Rhineland would be deeply deplored by all the interested powers and it is my conviction that it would be as harmful to European peace as to our trade interests. The present American area probably will be taken over complete by the French. With an official representation on Rhineland [Commission] and a few hundred American troops supporting German police in Coblenz, thus leaving this capital of the Rhineland and the seat of High Commission directly under American control, it is believed that the interests of peace would be served and an unfortunate situation, especially in Coblenz, resulting from our departure would be avoided.

Though I have not consulted my associates concerning details of this cablegram and of this suggestion, it is believed they would strongly endorse them.

France seems specially anxious that American representation remain and there is no doubt about the sentiment of the other interested powers.

Copy to Secretary of War requested paraphrased.

  1. German representative on the Rhineland High Commission.