462.00R296/3945: Telegram

The Chargé in Germany (Gordon) to the Secretary of State


65. Lately in the Berlin press there have been many reports that the Government of Germany is about to seek some alleviation of its reparations payments. These rumors have now solidified along the line that in Geneva Henderson5 was quite receptive to this idea. Rumor also has it that at Chequers Bruening and Curtius6 will discuss with the British methods of carrying out this idea and that later on the German Government will take concrete steps. I believe that American newspaper correspondents have cabled home such stories in the last few days.

In a confidential conversation this morning the head of the Economic Section of the German Foreign Office stated that Germany was greatly embarrassed by this attempt to force action and intended to do all it could to quiet the press campaign. He deprecated in particular an article in the London Daily Herald which suggested a transition loan. He stated once again that clear-thinking German officials recognized that financial difficulties elsewhere made it hard to draw up plans for relieving Germany (reference is to my despatch of May 4, No. 898).7 He said that Germany realized that there were other important questions confronting the world besides the reparations question. This Foreign Office official predicted that today the whole German Cabinet would without doubt endorse the view of Bruening and Curtius that the German Government was not at present able to suggest any definite measures for the relief of Germany. The Cabinet’s view would then be sent to the Reichsrat for approval before Chancellor Bruening leaves for England. The Foreign Office official, in order to prove his statement that Germany [Page 3] was at present unable to foresee any definite measures of relief resulting from either British or German proposals, said that Bruening and Curtius would take with them to Chequers only two young secretaries who spoke English but who could not be classified as technical experts.

  1. Arthur Henderson, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Heinrich Bruening, German Chancellor, and Julius Curtius, German Minister for Foreign Affairs, were invited to engage in some conversations with British leaders. They were in Great Britain June 5–10 and spent the week end with the British Prime Minister, J. Ramsay MacDonald, at Chequers.
  3. Not printed.