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

No. 2071

Sir: I have the honor to report the following brief summary of a conversation which I had last night with Staatssekretär Dr. Meissner, who, as the Department is aware, is one of the very small group possessing President von Hindenberg’s complete confidence and therefore one of the most influential men in the Reich—though, when able to do so, he prefers to operate modestly in the background.

Referring to the recent split in the Nazi ranks (foreshadowed in the Embassy’s despatch No. 2000 of October 24;45 see also despatch No. 207046 going forward in this pouch) Dr. Meissner confirmed the view that it was of really serious proportions. The fraction of the party behind Deputies Gregor Strasser and Dr. Frick is ready and willing to cooperate with the present Von Schleicher Government, while Hitler seems determined to follow the intransigeant course consistently advocated by Goebbels, which of necessity would appear to mean a further veering toward Communism, even though this might be sought to be disguised by the shibboleth, “National Communism”.

In passing it may be mentioned that the now familiar sight throughout Berlin of Nazis in uniform with small tin boxes soliciting contributions to party funds bears striking witness to the fact, already reported (see despatch No. 1929 of September 19, 1932), that some of the Nazis’ most substantial backers hitherto—chief among them certain large industrialists—have ceased to be a source of supply for the party coffers.

For his part, Chancellor Von Schleicher has always maintained that the Nazi movement contained within it elements of national regeneration which could successfully be exploited by a government —especially one of a non-Marxist complexion.

In this latter connection Dr. Meissner expressed the opinion that the country at large was shaping itself very satisfactorily behind the Von Schleicher Government, and even in Reichstag gave indications of proving as malleable as was the case in the recent brief session, which has just terminated with a peaceful and almost uncontested adjournment until January. The Chancellor’s present expectation is that the Reichstag will reconvene on or about January 20 for a short [Page 321] session of some 3 or 4 days, after which it will again acquiesce in adjourning itself until after Easter.

Respectfully yours,

Frederic M. Sackett
  1. Not printed.
  2. Infra.