The Chargé in Germany (Dresel) to the Secretary of State
[Received 5:50 p.m.]
63. German Government requests me to telegraph Department note verbale of which following is slightly abbreviated translation:
The Germans and Rhineland population have cordially welcomed reduction in number of American troops of occupation. They hope that by this means it can be demonstrated in their area that the objects of occupation can be attained with much smaller numbers than [Page 215] are at present quartered in each area. Results for the population would be exceedingly favorable. Families now greatly crowded could be put in possession of their former quarters. Above all reduction would redound to advantage of Entente as costs would diminish and power of reparation would increase.
However latest reports from America of intention not only to reduce number of troops but withdraw them altogether cause great apprehension to Rhineland population and German Government. Germany lays great weight on the participation of the United States as long as occupation lasts and especially that American troops are kept in the area about Coblenz. Among occupying nationals American occupation officials have distinguished themselves by impartiality in the exercise of the duties imposed by occupation. Their regulations and their conduct shows political detachment. They pursue no political aims but limit themselves strictly to the objects prescribed. This has been of the most value as Coblenz is the seat of the most important German and Prussian administrations for the whole Rhineland and it seems therefore especially significant from a political point of view.
Under these circumstances replacement of American troops in Coblenz and vicinity by troops of other occupying nations would nullify all the advantages which might be expected from diminution of these troops. Beyond this, political effect of the change in occupation would be to the detriment of Germany. The German Government therefore transmits urgent request to the American Government not to withdraw and thereby to avoid a change. It would be very desirable that the impartial and harmonizing influence of American occupation should also be made effective in the Interallied Commission by official acceptance by America of the Rhineland Agreement. This would also have the advantage that in that case the actual situation could be brought into closer conformity with the situation as it should be, that is, participation by America in the occupation would be no longer based on the armistice but would rest on the claim of appropriate rights contained in the Treaty of Versailles of which advantage can be taken under the German-American treaty.
I told Von Haniel40 who presented the note to me that the reported attitude of Congress if true would probably render the retention of the troops difficult but that I had no official information of any decision on the subject.
- German Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.↩