763.72119 Military Clauses/16
Memorandum by the Secretary of State
The British Chargé, Mr. Osborne, came and presented me with an aide-mémoire, which is annexed hereto, concerning the representations which Sir John Simon has made to the German Government on the subject of their démarche in regard to equality of arms. He also read to me from a telegram a few sentences, indicating that Sir John felt and had stated to the German Government that this was a very dangerous move for them to make at this time. In this telegram he stated also that the German Government had defended itself by saying that their attitude was merely a continuation of the position taken at Bessinge last spring in Geneva.
I at once said that this statement was not in accord with the facts; that my recollection was that Chancellor Bruening at Bessinge had taken a very different position from what the German Government was now reported as taking towards the French. I told Mr. Osborne that according to my recollection at Bessinge, at an interview at which Mr. MacDonald and Lord Londonderry, Chancellor Bruening and von Buelow, and myself and Mr. Gibson and Mr. Wilson were present, Chancellor Bruening said that Germany did not seek to raise her armament, nor did she expect France to come down to her level, that she only asked that France would make a material reduction paving the way for further reduction in the future and Germany asked to be relieved only from certain very technical or minor inconveniences. I then sent for my diary and read to Mr. Osborne the memorandum of the interview in question at Bessinge which took place on April 26, 1932,48 and which entirely corroborated my recollection.
I told Mr. Osborne that I was inclined to sympathize with Sir John’s apprehension, and Mr. Osborne asked me whether I intended to make any similar representation. I said I understood that Mr. Castle had already had a talk with the German Chargé on the subject and I would look into that and see whether any further representation was necessary on my part as I had just returned from an absence. But I told him to assure Sir John Simon that I shared his apprehensions and sympathized with his desire that Britain and America should consult with each other on the subject in order to avoid misunderstanding or divergence of action; that in general I was sympathetic with his attitude.