500.A15A4 Steering Committee/34: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

79. On the 12th instant the German Consul at Geneva72 informed Aghnides that inasmuch as Germany had obtained no satisfaction in their claim to equality of treatment the German Government would not send a representative to the meeting of the Bureau of the Disarmament Conference called for 21st instant. Aghnides argued with the Consul on this point and the latter remained unshaken. Aghnides finally said that this was such a serious matter that he could not assume the responsibility of accepting such a message orally and requested the Consul to send the Secretary-General73 a formal communication giving the reasons therefor.

Up to the moment the formal communication has not been received since Aghnides promised to telephone me as soon as it came.

It is impossible to foretell what effect this will have on the meeting of the Bureau if Germany’s attitude is maintained. I incline to the belief that even in the face of such an attitude it would be better for the Bureau to continue its work, to note with regret the absence of Germany, to express the hope that a solution can be found rapidly for the difficulty which is impeding Germany’s participation and to [Page 328]state that the other states are so convinced of the necessity of disarmament that they will do the best they can in the absence of German representatives. Such an attitude would, I believe, cause public opinion throughout the world to bring pressure on Germany to reenter the negotiations.

Germany’s attitude does not yet seem entirely official and they may be hesitating before making it so.

You may feel that some action could usefully be taken to strengthen the impression already made by Castle’s conversation with the German Chargé d’Affaires outlined in your telegram No. 311, September 2, noon, to Paris.74

Cipher text by mail to Berlin, Paris, Brussels, London.

Wilson
  1. Dr. H. Frölicher.
  2. Sir Eric Drummond.
  3. Post, p. 419.