740.0011 Mutual Guarantee (Eastern Locarno)/4

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

No. 948

Sir: I have the honor to report that Russo-German relations have invited public attention of late by reason of the proposed “Eastern Locarno,” the transient visit of Litvinov to von Neurath,6 and the alleged consideration of Russia in the course of the Venice conversations.7

[Page 490]

It was learned at the Soviet Legation in this capital that Mr. Litvinov, while passing through Berlin, suggested to Baron von Neurath that Germany should join a pact of non-aggression, consultation, and mutual assistance, to which Russia, Germany, the Border States including Finland, Poland and the Little Entente should be parties. According to the source above mentioned, the German Foreign Minister replied that the question would of course be studied but that, speaking off hand, it seemed to him that Germany, being insufficiently armed for its own defense, could not undertake to go to the assistance of any other country. In other words, it was intimated that Germany might possibly participate in a pact of non-aggression and consultation, but not in one of mutual assistance. Asked as to the attitude of Poland in this respect, the informant stated that both Poland and Finland would base their attitude upon that of Germany. The matter had also been broached to Mr. Beneš,8 who apparently was agreeable to the idea. The proposal was not made either in detailed form or in writing but orally and in general terms.

In reply to the question as to whether the recall of the German Ambassador in Russia, Nadolny, was due to his support of this particular scheme—a report which had reached me from another source—the answer was made that this step had been determined some time ago. It was intimated that the diplomatist in question had expressed himself to Chancellor Hitler in favor of the previous proposal for guaranteeing the Border States, and that the Chancellor had strongly objected, the exchange of views being sufficiently animated to cause Nadolny to fall into disfavor. His successor is to be the German Minister in Roumania, von Schulenberg, for whom the “agrément” has been already requested.

The accounts published in the press of the conversations in Venice indicate that Mussolini was opposed to any such a regional pact as that suggested by the Russian Foreign Minister.

There are enclosed herewith three translated excerpts,9 one from the Berliner Boersen Zeitung in regard to Russian subversive activities, a second from the Völkischer Beobachter of the 14th of June, in which Alfred Rosenberg10 indicates that the conversations in Venice should have as one of the topics the protection of Europe against Communist subversive activity, and a third from the Berliner Boersen Zeitung of June 15 which claims that a French Military Mission will soon visit Moscow and that French armament firms are active in that country.

Respectfully yours,

William E. Dodd
  1. Constantin von Neurath, German Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Between the German Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, and the Italian Premier, Benito Mussolini.
  3. Eduard Beneš, Czechoslovak Minister for Foreign Affairs
  4. Not printed.
  5. Editor in chief of the Völkischer Beobachter.