763.72119 Military Clauses/2: Telegram

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

162. Reference to your telegram 97, August 17, the report was based on recent interviews with von Papen and Neurath by Mr. Kaltenborn of Columbia Broadcasting Company whose contemporaneous notes of the conversations I have seen.

Dr. Dieckhoff of the Foreign Office confirms the report that conversations between Germans and French will shortly take place. He said that Germans demand such modifications of the treaty requirements as would permit a more economic use of German military budget without, however, increasing the amount of the budget as well as the removal of certain hardships. He cited especially relief from the 12-year service period for enlisted men which tended to destroy morale of the Army. Through such proposed changes a formula could be found that would satisfy the demands for “equality” the lack of which prevented the Germans from voting for Geneva adjournment and which would make possible Germany’s re-participation in the Conference. He thought the French, as the result of many previous unofficial conversations, appreciated the need for concessions to meet the situation.

The French Embassy informs me, however, that in so far as France was concerned no official negotiations as such had taken place nor did the Embassy expect any instructions in the premises. The Embassy, however, admitted that informal conversations covering treaty changes as to German armaments had taken place from time to time at Berlin, Geneva, Lausanne and Paris but exclusively upon the initiative of the Germans. Furthermore, that the French Embassy was impressed with the merits of certain German arguments and had recommended to its Government a more conciliatory attitude toward the German demands.