862.4016/115: Telegram

The Chargé in Germany (Gordon) to the Secretary of State

47. I entirely agree with your view as to the effect upon the present situation of outside intercession. Representations by way of movements made here would very probably be met with recriminations as to the “atrocity propaganda” allegedly based on false or Teutonic [sic] reports now current in the United States. The local press of the last few days is increasingly full of this kind of thing and the more violent papers, apparently on the theory of the best defense being a good offense, are urging the Government to protest to the Foreign Missions here against the “campaign of calumny” in various foreign countries. At the moment the greatest press emphasis in this connection is being directed against the United States.

There is however one suggestion that I venture to make in case you have not already thought of it.

I am convinced that the general tenor of communication between foreigners and members of the Government here has necessarily been one of complaint and protest and it is possible that if the line were taken of expressing confidence in Hitler’s determination to restore peaceful and normal conditions emphasizing what a great place he will achieve in the estimation of the world if he is able to bring it about it might have a helpful effect.

As indicated in my telegram No. 43, March 23, 11 a.m., Hitler now represents the element of moderation in the Nazi Party and I believe that if in any way you can strengthen his hands even indirectly he would welcome it. If this suggestion has any merit I feel that anything you might be able to say in this sense to Prittwitz would be received with far more attention here than any protest transmitted through him—especially in view of his rather peculiar present status. I should very much like to know if this suggestion appeals to you.

As to a possible press release the statements made in the second paragraph of my 43, March 23, 11 a.m., remain true and I should think that they might form the backbone of a release which, if it indicates that the Embassy while not minimizing what has occurred is given [giving?] the facts to the Department in their true proportion, should have a calming effect.

[Page 332]

With regard to molestation of Jewish industrialists foreshadowed in the fourth paragraph of my telegram under reference, I have outlined additional evidence that certain Nazi circles advocate the application of the principle of numerus clausus to the business world, namely, that as Jews hold a number of important jobs which is entirely disproportionate to their percentage of the population enough of them must be dismissed to attain the correct proportion. There have been various instances of such dismissals but even here I think I can detect a certain slackening of the pace and a greater hesitancy to apply the theory integrally. I hope to have something further of great interest to report in this connection, perhaps Monday evening, as the subject is going to be taken up with Hitler by a leading industrialist who is prepared to give us information as to the result thereof.7

As a further suggestion with respect to a press release it should be noted that some Jewish organizations have recently been protesting against the false news spread abroad and even praising the action of the authorities where cases of excesses had been brought to their attention. This morning the Embassy received from the “Reich Association of the Jewish Front Line Bloc” a statement in this sense requesting that it be cabled to America in view of Monday’s mass meeting. I replied by telephone thanking the secretary for his communication but suggesting that the proper channel for him to use would be the German Embassy or the German Consulate General in New York City. I have since learned that the New York Times is cabling this statement home. The Frankfurter Zeitung owned by Jews has likewise taken a very marked stand in the above sense.

Of course action of this kind is not free from the suspicion that it is dictated either under pressure or by self interest but it is just possible that in your press release you might find it helpful to mention the fact of these Jewish expressions of view. I also have good reason to believe that there are individual Jews of high standing in the community—perhaps principally in the banking field where they are less likely to be molested—who look upon this as an internal problem which they have to fight out themselves and genuinely feel that they can do so better without outside interference. Possibly some reference to this point of view might also find a place in the press release.

While on this general subject I might point out that such blanket denials of mistreatment of Jews as were made yesterday over the telephone by the Nazi press chief Haenfstaengl to the International News Service are palpably absurd—see section 2 of my telegram under reference; though on the other hand it can be pointed out that a large number [Page 333] of public officeholders who are not Jews but are political opponents of the present Government have likewise lost their jobs.

Since dictating the foregoing I have talked with newspapermen who attended the interview given by Goering to foreign correspondents this afternoon which lasted well over an hour after which the correspondents were dismissed without any questions being allowed. While a vigorous defense of the regime and its actions it was decidedly more moderate in tone than various former utterances of his. The local Associated Press correspondent has just read me his story over the telephone and I think the Department will find therein statements which come within the category of public assurances mentioned in the Department’s telegram under reference. There have not been any other such statements by Nazi leaders since Hitler’s two appeals for discipline reported in the Embassy’s telegrams 33, March 11, noon, and 35, March 13, noon, despatch 2247 of March 13.8 However, the Foreign Minister today gave an exclusive interview to the local Associated Press correspondent which the latter tells me was of a distinctly reassuring tenor. This will probably be published Monday morning and the Department might find it useful.

If there are any other points of fact or opinion on which further report would be helpful to you please let me know and I will be glad to furnish it immediately.

  1. See telegram No. 54, March 30, 5 p.m., from the Chargé in Germany, p. 335.
  2. Telegram No. 35 and despatch No. 2247 not printed.