860M.01 Memel/139: Telegram

The Minister in Latvia (Skinner) to the Secretary of State

30. Department’s telegram No. 6, February 24, 5 p.m. While in Kovno last week during informal discussions about Memel I suggested moderation. Deem it unnecessary at present to return for same purpose as my presence might lead to misconstruction.

At noon today the position is that Boettcher has given in his resignation as president of the Directorate in order as he suggests that his personality may not embarrass efforts to reorganize the local government. The Lithuanian Government attaches no importance to this resignation deeming that he was removed from office February 6th. Governor Merkys will now probably dissolve the Memel Diet as the Constitution authorizes and on the election of a Diet with pro-German majority he will present a new directorate which may or may not receive a vote of confidence. Lithuanians believe that von Bülow made poor case for Germany at Geneva and that the signatory powers favor the Lithuanian point of view as Lithuanians are satisfied with existing conditions they are unlikely to proceed to dangerous lengths. The real anxiety apparently is lest Hitlerites organize an invasion from East Prussia in which event grave consequences might ensue.