462.00R296/4017: Telegram

The Ambassador in Germany (Sackett) to the Secretary of State

87. My 86, June 20, 11 p.m. Following is text in translation as transmitted to me by the Chancellor of a telegram addressed by President von Hindenburg to President Hoover:

“Neudeck, 20th June, 1931.

Herbert Hoover, President of the United States.

Mr. President: The need of the German people which has reached a climax compels me to adopt the unusual step of addressing you personally.

The German people has lived through years of great hardship, culminating in the past Winter, and the economic recovery hoped for in the Spring of this year has not taken place. I have, therefore, now taken steps, in virtue of the extraordinary powers conferred upon me by the German Constitution, to insure the carrying out of the most urgent tasks confronting the Government and to secure the necessary means of subsistence for the unemployed. These measures radically affect all economic and social conditions and entail the greatest sacrifices on the part of all classes of the population. All possibilities of improving the situation by domestic measures without relief from abroad are exhausted. The economic crisis from which the whole world is suffering hits particularly hard the German nation which has been deprived of its reserves by the consequences of the war. As the developments of the last few days show, the whole world lacks confidence in the ability of the German economic system to work under the existing burdens. Large credits received by us from foreign countries have been withdrawn. Even in the course of the last few days the Reichsbank has had to hand over to foreign countries one-third of its reserves of gold and foreign currency. The inevitable consequence of these developments must be a further serious restriction of economic life and an increase in the numbers of unemployed who already amount to more than one-third of the total number of industrial workers. The efficiency, will to work, and discipline of the German people justify confidence in the strict observance of the great fixed private obligations and loans with which Germany is burdened. But, in order to maintain its course and the confidence of the world in its capacity, Germany has urgent need of relief. The relief must come at once if we are to avoid serious misfortune for ourselves and others. The German people must continue to have the possibility of working under tolerable living conditions. Such relief would be to the benefit of all countries in its material and moral effect on thq whole crisis. It would improve the situation in other countries and materially reduce the danger to Germany due to internal and external tension caused by distress and despair.

You, Mr. President, as the representative of the great American people, are in a position to take the steps by which an immediate change in the situation threatening Germany and the rest of the world could be brought about. President von Hindenburg.”