The Ambassador in Germany (Dodd) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 17—4:19 p.m.]
172. My 168, October 15, noon, last paragraph. At my interview with the Chancellor this morning at which Neurath was the only other person present I first took up the subject of assaults on Americans and the failure to punish the assailants and, pointing out the increasing resentment that had been aroused in the United States, said that we must request absolute assurances that such attacks would cease. Neurath said that he thought we could be assured of this referring to the sentences in the Velz case (my 171, October 17). He added that henceforth should there unfortunately be any more such cases they will not only be dealt with drastically but will receive the publicity we have advocated. Hitler added with great emphasis that he would personally see to it that any offender of this kind would be punished to the limit of the law.
I then turned to the question of financial and commercial discrimination (see Department’s 123, October 9th)48 referring to the quota arrangements recently made and especially to the discrimination against American creditors as evidenced by the recent agreement with Swiss holders of scrip. Neurath admitted that these practices were not unexceptionable but contended that Germany could not pay her foreign debts if she could not ship goods and that she had to make arrangements of this nature in order to increase her exports.[Page 397]
We then talked for some 20 minutes about Germany’s withdrawal from the League. The Chancellor showed much anxiety concerning the President’s attitude and American public opinion. He became somewhat heated on the subject of Versailles and made various rather confused and, as far as I could follow him, contradictory statements concerning the disarmament of other powers and Germany’s need of defensive armaments. I interrupted a fairly violent attack on the French attitude and on the neglect of the world to enforce the Treaty of Versailles to inquire if aside from the question whether Germany had suffered an injustice and of who was at fault, the danger of war was not the predominant consideration. To this the Chancellor agreed and he did then make the definite statement that he would not allow any incident along the Polish, Austrian or French frontiers to develop into a war and affirmed his recognition of the efficacy of convoking a further conference should matters take such a turn as to make armed activity seem imminent.
The total effect of the interview was more favorable from the point of view of the maintenance of world peace than I had expected.