The German Embassy to the Department of State
Résumé of Verbal Communications by the German Ambassador
The German people, in their Constitution, have proclaimed the general recognized principles of the Law of Nations as integral part of the Law of Germany and expressed their determination to preserve peace both at home and abroad. In accordance with these principles the German Government have consistently followed the line of active collaboration in the development of all instrumentalities to secure peaceful settlements of international differences. Germany, among the first, adopted the system of general arbitration in signing the optional clause of the World Court11 and systematically enhanced the number of arbitration and conciliation treaties with other nations. The Locarno Treaties,12 initiated by Germany, have been followed by Germany’s decision to immediately join the Briand-Kellogg Pact without reservation.
Disarmament is the logical corollary of the development of the machinery of peaceful settlement of international conflicts. The General Assembly of the League of Nations has already in 1928 unanimously resolved that security was sufficiently established to proceed with disarmament. Moreover, this question of disarmament is felt by the German Government to be one of the most serious political problems of the present day. Though mainly an European issue, it is in its effects one of the most important factors in the general problem of world stability, in which all countries, in particular those linked up with Europe by strong economic interests, as the United States, are involved.
The United States having after the war most substantially reduced their land army forces are primarily interested in naval disarmament. Germany, for obvious reasons, is chiefly interested in the question of land disarmament. It appears, however, that land and sea armament are inseparably linked together. According to the views of the [Page 95] German Government they must be, therefore, treated simultaneously in order to attain durable success. The history of former procedures, in particular of the Geneva Conference of April, 1929,13 shows the questionable value of special concessions made to an individual power or group of powers in the field of land disarmament in order to induce them to concessions in the domain of naval disarmament. It is to be hoped that these procedures which involve a discrimination against other nations could be avoided in the future.
The slow progress in the field of disarmament especially the fruitless attempts to reach definite agreements during the 4 years of discussion of the Preparatory Disarmament Committee, have produced deep resentment among the German people. Not only have they seen how neighboring nations maintain and increase their armaments, but also were they disappointed by the methods proposed (for instance the exclusion of trained reserves and stores of munition from the scope of disarmament). The German army, consisting of a 100,000 men without reserves and deprived of all equipment essential to modern warfare, such as heavy artillery, tanks, and aviation, by the provisions of the Versailles Treaty,14 is acknowledgedly powerless against the vast military preparations and military resources of the neighboring countries, who all accepted the obligations of the Versailles Treaty to disarm, but so far failed to do so. The continuance of such conditions is bound to increase the spirit of bitterness among the German people which expresses itself in nationalistic leanings of wide circles opposed to the conciliatory policies of the Government. The German Government’s policy does not aim at increasing Germany’s armament but at equality through disarmament. If the reaction in the mind of the German people is taken by other nations as an excuse for refusing to disarm and for advocating the necessity of more security, those so arguing are misplacing cause and effect. For it is their attitude of persistently refusing to disarm that has produced the reaction in Germany, not the reverse.
No country is through the exercise of public opinion in a position to contribute more to the solution of the disarmament problem than the United States which in Article II of the Treaty of August 25, 1921,15 restoring friendly relations with Germany, availed themselves of the disarmament clauses of the Treaty of Versailles. The utterances of the President and the Government of the United States have repeatedly invoked the cooperation of all nations toward the advance of the reign of justice and the extinction of force. The German Government, [Page 96] aiming at the same goal, have always been ready to join any action that might help to promote international goodwill and facilitate effective disarmament. If, therefore, the alleged suggestion of some further extension of the Pact of Paris towards consultation should be discussed, the German Government, being one of the original signatories of the Pact, would gladly cooperate and assume that it would be given the opportunity to express their views.
- Optional clause of the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice, Foreign Relations, 1920, vol. i, p. 18.↩
- Treaty of mutual guarantee, signed at Locarno, October 16, 1925; League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. liv, pp. 289 ff.↩
- Sixth session of the Preparatory Commission for the Disarmament Conference; see Foreign Relations, 1929, vol. i, pp. 65 ff.↩
- Treaties, Conventions, etc., Between the United States of America and Other Powers, 1910–1923 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1923), vol. iii, p. 3329.↩
- Foreign Relations, 1921, vol. ii, p. 29.↩