Memorandum of Trans-Atlantic Telephone Conversation13

Mr. Gordon: Hello, Mr. Phillips, this is Gordon.

Mr. Phillips: Hello, Mr. Gordon.

[Page 345]

Mr. Gordon: The Foreign Minister has been sick since yesterday afternoon and is still in bed so he has nothing to give me today, but he is seeing the Chancellor tomorrow morning after which he will let me know how definite assurances he can procure that if we issue a statement in the form proposed Friday afternoon the boycott will not be resumed on Wednesday. The general opinion here, I am speaking on my own, now is that the boycott is not likely to be resumed on Wednesday. I will amplify that later. When I see the Foreign Minister on Monday he presumably will let me know just what he expects to get from the English. He hoped, apparently, according to his last statement Friday night, he hoped to get something promptly and completely satisfactory from the English on Monday. Well, that ends the official communication that I have had from his office. Now, may I go on?

Mr. Phillips: Yes, go right ahead.

Mr. Gordon: The situation yesterday throughout Germany passed off extremely peacefully. There was only one death as far as I know in Kiel, and in Berlin and all the big centers there was not even any physical wild treatment reported or any of that kind of thing, so it went off far better than might have been expected. In fact, I may say that the troopers of the storm detachment, who were policing and patrolling, were taking it in pretty much of a holiday spirit. So that is that.

Mr. Phillips: All the press despatches from Berlin now just give about the same impressions that you give me.

Mr. Gordon: If you wish me to take a chance on being overheard, I can give you a little more background.

Mr. Phillips: All right.

Mr. Gordon: It was a very stormy day here in the Cabinet and in its environments. A very important resignation was put on the table and created consternation everywhere. It was not accepted—it was the gentleman that I was speaking to. That is my information, although I did not have it from him, himself. But, at any rate, the biggest power here in the country who has had a tendency heretofore to remain aloof, got into action Friday on the good side, so that the situation looks considerably better at the moment than it did then. I am telling you all this as having a bearing on issuing the statement on Monday, so that when the Ministry gives the word you will be prepared to issue it. I explained, without saying you would not; that you could hardly be waiting after these more or less surprises of Friday night to jump whenever the word was given so that is the way it remains now. Is that clear?

Mr. Phillips: Yes, perfectly.

Mr. Gordon: May I go on?

Mr. Phillips: Just a minute, Gordon. Everything is quiet here and, [Page 346] if it remains quiet, we shall have very little cause or justification to issue a statement.

Mr. Gordon: That is what occurred to me, and may I ask a question in that connection?

Mr. Phillips: Yes.

Mr. Gordon: Reports here are that the resumption of the boycott depends on atrocity propaganda. I have always said, what is the atrocity propaganda.

Mr. Phillips: There is no propaganda now at home. Absolutely none. Everything is quiet.

Mr. Gordon: Exactly. I will repeat that again here. I have been in close touch with all the American correspondents here and, as far as they have shown me, their stories, they have reported in very moderate fashion; is that the way it appears at home?

Mr. Phillips: That is the way it now appears at home.

Mr. Gordon: When I see the Foreign Minister tomorrow, do you wish me to say that there is not much cause for issuing a statement, or would you be prepared to do so if the Foreign Minister made it clear that it would really help that process about which I spoke to you awhile ago?

Mr. Phillips: We wish to cooperate with him but there seems to be, as I have just said, no justification for issuing any statement now under the present conditions over here.

Mr. Gordon: Right. I will just give you a view that I know will bear on what will come up tomorrow. The conversation that I will have with him, he will probably present in the following fashion:

The force is working for good but it needs considerable support to consolidate their position and that if we could do this it would help a great deal in that process. I am sure he will put it to me in that way. Then I think the best thing will be to call you up right away again.

Mr. Phillips: I think you had better call me up again and then we will consider what he says and the present attitude over here.

Mr. Gordon: Quite so. I can’t tell you just what time but, roughly speaking, I should see him somewhere around eleven o’clock your time.

Mr. Phillips: Tomorrow?

Mr. Gordon: Yes, I hope so.

Mr. Phillips: Then we will be ready to receive a call any time after that time.

Mr. Gordon: I think that is the best way to leave it, Mr. Phillips.

Mr. Phillips: Yes, thank you very much. Good-by.

  1. Between Mr. Phillips in Washington and Mr. Gordon in Berlin, April 2, 1933, 10 a.m.