740.0011 Mutual Guarantee (Eastern Locarno)/21

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

No. 1067

Sir: Referring to despatches Nos. 1025 and 1032 of July 13 and 16 respectively,28 I have the honor to enclose further data in regard to the proposed Eastern Pact. From this it will be seen that the [Page 499] Germans object to the proposals, though apparently they are in no hurry to reply and seem to be waiting for other countries to make smoother the path of German rejection.

  • Enclosures 1 and 2 consist of the English text of the proposals as delivered to the German Foreign Office by the British Embassy. The first document is the original French proposal, and the second the British amendments accepted by the French, which the former held would place Germany on a basis of equality with France.
  • Enclosure 3 consists of a confidential memorandum of conversation between Dr. Meyer, Chief of the Eastern Division in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the Counselor of the Embassy,29 in which the former set forth the German objections to the proposals.
  • Enclosure 430 comprises German press comment.

Respectfully yours,

William E. Dodd
[Enclosure 1]

French Proposals Regarding a Treaty of Regional Assistance To Be Signed by Poland, Russia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

1.Treaty of Regional Assistance to be signed by Poland, Russia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Part I

These countries would bind themselves in conformity with Covenant immediately to lend assistance to one another in the case of attack by one contracting state on another.
No support would be given by any of signatories to an aggressor country not a party to treaty.

Part II

In the case of attack or threatened attack by a contracting country, the other parties would consult together with a view to avoidance of a conflict and in order to promote a return to peace.
The signatories would undertake the same commitment in the case of attack or of threatened attack by a Power which is not a signatory against a signatory Power.
The consultations referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) of Part II could extend to other interested Powers or to Powers entitled to participate in them by virtue of other treaties.
Where one contracting country could benefit from provisions of Article 10 and Article 16 of Covenant of League, the other signatories [Page 500] would undertake to secure a complete application of such provisions by League of Nations.

2. Agreement between France and Russia

As towards France, Russia would accept obligations arising from Treaty of Locarno as though Soviet Union were a signatory of that treaty on same footing as Great Britain or Italy.
As towards Russia, France would accept Commitments which would arise for her under Part I, paragraphs (a) and (b), of Regional Treaty if she were a signatory, in cases where it is a question of action in fulfilment of Article 16 of Covenant or decisive action taken by Assembly or Council or in fulfilment of paragraph 7 of Article 15 of Covenant.
France would be invited if case arose to participate in consultations provided for in Treaty of Regional Assistance under terms of Article (a) of Part II.

3. A General Act, Signatories: All States signatories of Treaty of Regional Assistance and in addition France

The two preceding treaties are recognized as being of a character to contribute to maintenance of peace.
They are without prejudice to obligations and rights of contracting parties as members of League of Nations.
Entry into force of three acts is subject to their ratification and to entry into League of Nations of Russia.
[Enclosure 2]

British Counterproposals Accepted by the French, Regarding a Treaty of Regional Assistance To Be Signed by Poland, Russia, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

In the view of the French Government Russia ought to be prepared to give Germany as well as to France the same guarantees against non-provoked aggression as those which she would be bound to give if she were a signatory to the Treaty of Locarno,
In regard to the proposed Eastern Pact France would be prepared to give the same guarantees to Germany and Russia.
The French Government agrees with His Majesty’s Government in holding that the conclusion of such a pact and Germany’s participation in the system of reciprocal guarantees now contemplated would afford the best ground for the assumption of negotiations for the conclusion of a convention such as would provide a reasonable application of the principle of German equality of rights in a régime of security for all nations.
[Page 501]
[Enclosure 3]

Memorandum by the Counselor of Embassy in Germany (White) of a Conversation With the Chief of the Eastern Division in the German Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Meyer)

I asked Dr. Meyer as to what he could tell me of the so-called Eastern Locarno proposals in addition to what he had previously communicated.

Dr. Meyer proceeded to give me the text in English of the original French proposals and of the modifications suggested by the English and accepted by France. Both of the documents had apparently been given out by the British Embassy. Dr. Meyer said that although the matter was still being considered with a view to seeing what the attitude of the other powers was, and no immediate answer was contemplated, yet the following objections might be raised: 1) the Germans did not wish to have the Russian or French armies march in through their country with a view to carrying out the clauses of the treaty; 2) the treaty was based on a military alliance between Russia and France which would give those two countries the principal say in carrying out the terms of the proposed pact. Asked whether a military alliance already existed between Russia and France, Dr. Meyer replied that he thought not; Russia had made the proposal for such an alliance and France had endeavored to turn this into a pact for regional security; 3) the pact would work in favor of the stronger powers against the weaker; among the latter was Germany, by reason of her armament situation, and Russia and France were among the former; 4) Germany might be drawn into quarrels or wars between the signers and have to supply troops; 5) Germany might be called upon to take up arms against non-signing powers. Particularly did this apply in case of war in the Far East, when this country would have to support Russia against Japan, a commitment which the British were very careful to avoid for themselves. Dr. Meyer stated that the members of the Little Entente—other than Czechoslovakia—had not been proposed as signers so far, though they might come in later.

Another objection of the German Government to the proposed pact, mentioned by Dr. Meyer, was that Germany considered that the Russian guarantees proposed for the existing Pact of Locarno would not be a source of additional strength, but rather the reverse.

He considered that the British had endorsed the Eastern Pact because: 1) it would relieve the British of the continuous pressure from France for further guarantees in favor of the latter; 2) in the hope that it might keep things quiet in the east of Europe; 3) it would be a means of getting Germany back into the League. In this last connection, however, Dr. Meyer held that the English were mistaken, as [Page 502] nothing was said about the changes which Germany desired in the League and—more important—nothing was said in regard to the equal treatment (Gleichberechtigung) of Germany in armaments. At this point naturally Dr. Meyer alluded to the speech of M. Barthou at Bayonne.

Dr. Meyer agreed that the Finnish Government had definitely rejected the proposals. He said the Scandinavian countries were also opposed to the pact although they had not been urged to join; further, that he had had no conversation with the Poles on the subject.

J. C. White
  1. Neither printed.
  2. J. C. White.
  3. Not reprinted.