862.4016/34: Telegram

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

31. Consulate General reported yesterday morning three cases of American citizens Henry H. Sattler, Edwin F. Dakin and Nathaniel S. Woolf, all with the exception of the latter temporarily residing in Berlin, who have been subjected to violence and/or intimidation by armed groups of National Socialists. Woolf alleges under oath that he was practically kidnapped, held incommunicado and bound for a period of 3 hours as well as threatened. The Embassy immediately protested to the Foreign Office concerning these acts and the Ministry promptly expressed its keen regret assuring me that proper measures would be taken to prevent a repetition of similar occurrences and ordered a thorough investigation of the three cases. These occurrences are not restricted to non-Germans but are typical of the existing conditions in Germany arising primarily from the heat of the recent election campaign.

This morning the Consulate General reported a fourth and more serious case. Max Schussler, an American citizen, states that at the point of a pistol he was forced to sign an order rescinding an eviction order against a Nazi tenant of his in arrears for a year’s rent. His wife also was subjected to indignities and his domicile invaded. The Embassy this morning also protested this case to the Foreign Office and the Ministry once more expressed its profound regret. At the same time the Foreign Office informed me that the first three cases were brought immediately to the attention of each member of the Cabinet including the Chancellor and that the Cabinet in session expressed its appreciation of the seriousness of these occurrences and discussed ways and means of preventing similar outbreaks and took steps effecting a thorough investigation. Inasmuch as similar cases were called to the attention of the German Government by other diplomatic missions in Berlin the Government according to the Foreign Office had already taken preliminary measures. A special decree was issued by the Prussian Minister of the Interior on March 3rd whereby only the regular communal police authorities would be charged with the application of the decree concerning the restriction on personal liberties. In addition stronger disciplinary measures are envisaged in view of the American instances.

The Foreign Office also stated that at the request of the Chancellor the investigation also includes the possibility that the mistreatment of these foreigners might have been instigated by provocateurs.