860M.01 Memel/132

The Chargé in Lithuania (Fullerton) to the Secretary of State

Diplomatic No. 394

Sir: I have the honor to refer to this Legation’s recent despatches with regard to new difficulties in the Memel Territory, and to inform the Department that the situation has not improved.

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During a conversation with my British colleague yesterday I ascertained that the Lithuanian Government had recently protested vigorously to His Britannic Majesty’s Government, through its representative in Kovno and its Minister in Riga, persistent efforts upon the part of the German Government to foment trouble between Lithuania and Memel, requesting that steps be taken to induce Germany to adopt a more conciliatory policy. … Mr. Preston said that, although he was not inclined to discount as completely unfounded the German fears of some months ago of Lithuanian plans for a putsch in Memel, he was convinced, following his conversations of recent date with Foreign Minister Zaunius and Prime Minister Tubelis that the Lithuanian Government had absolutely no desire to exceed the powers conferred upon it by the Memel Convention and Statute in dealing with the Territory and that it was far from the design of the Lithuanian Nationalist administration to favor or permit a putsch in Memel at this time.

The Lithuanian Nationalist press, as represented by the Lietuvos Aidas in a recent editorial, has assumed a generally moderate tone in its comment upon the latest incidents disturbing the relations between the Memel Autonomy and the Lithuanian Central Government. While the activities of President Boettcher of the Directorate and his Memel German associates in travelling to Germany upon what is consistently held to have been a political mission are characterized as “treasonable”, moderation is counseled and no action upon the part of this country recommended which would not be in harmony with the existing Convention and Statute.

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It is, I think, the growing conviction of the majority of my colleagues in the Diplomatic Corps here that Germany is overplaying its hand in an endeavor to influence European opinion against the Lithuanian Administration of Memel and that the attitude of the German Government with regard to the recent incidents has been neither justified nor wise. For Lithuania to contemplate forceful intervention in the Territory in an effort to remove the obnoxious Directorate would be hazardous and unsafe in view of the present unsettled conditions in Germany and reaction in Germany to any such procedure would, it is generally believed, imperil Lithuania’s hold upon the Territory.

Respectfully yours,

Hugh S. Fullerton