860M.01 Memel/162

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

Diplomatic No. 20

Sir: I have the honor to inform the Department, following this Legation’s recent despatches relative to the crisis in the Memel Territory, that the Minister for Foreign Affairs informed me this morning that a purely Lithuanian Directorate for the Memel Territory had just been formed—consisting of Mr. Edward Simaitis, the President selected by the Governor some days ago, Mr. J. Toliszus, provisional President named by Governor Merkys at the time of the removal on February 6 of President Boettcher, and Mr. Martynas Reizgys and Mr. K. Kadgyns, former presidents of the Directorate.

Dr. Zaunius expressed himself as confident that the hostile feeling aroused in Germany by the determination of the Lithuanian Government to maintain what it considers to be its rights would subside in the face of this fait accompli and that, now that a fair assurance exists that President Hindenburg will be reelected on a second ballot, the Brüning Government will adopt a more conciliatory attitude with reference to Lithuania. He admitted that the new Directorate would almost certainly not be favorably received by the German majority parties in the Memel Chamber of Representatives and that the dissolution of the Chamber might probably result from this latest situation. I was unable to determine from the Minister’s conversation whether or not he had received some secret assurances from one or all of the signatory powers to the Memel Convention of 1924 that they would either not interfere with Lithuania as a result of this most recent stand or would restrain Germany from hostile acts.

In a later conversation with my British colleague, the latter informed me that the formation of a new and purely Lithuanian Directorate was, in his opinion, “an insane gesture of defiance” upon the part of the Lithuanian Government, which was being carried off its feet by Governor Merkys and a considerate [considerable?] element in the Government and in the Opposition parties who are in favor of forcing the issue with Germany. He predicted that the signatory powers would withdraw any moral support which they had accorded to Lithuania in the past and also that Germany would immediately close the Lithuanian-East Prussian frontier. The next few days should decide the course which events will take.

Respectfully yours,

Hugh S. Fullerton