740.0011 Mutual Guarantee (Eastern Locarno)/62: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union ( Bullitt ) to the Secretary of State

341. (Continuing my No. 340, October 5, 5 p.m.47) I asked Litvinoff if he had given up all hope of establishing the Eastern Pact. He said [Page 517] that he had not but that at best the negotiations would take a number of months. He said that he could not believe that the Poles in the end would be such fools as to base their national security on Hitler’s word and good faith. He added that at the moment, however, the Poles were attempting to form an anti-French bloc consisting of Poland, Germany, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, and that they hoped Austria would drop into Hitler’s hands and form the final unit in the bloc. I asked him if he thought that this was the likely solution of the Austrian question.48 He replied that he did; that Italy, France, and the Little Entente49 were utterly unable to agree on common action with regard to Austria, and that he saw little prospect of agreement; that if Hitler should have the success he expected in the Saar, Italy might be unable to continue to maintain the present Austrian Government against the Nazi movement. He said that he felt that Hitler’s position had been strengthened recently and that success in the matter of the Saar would lead to his continuance in power.

Litvinoff then expressed the opinion that the one way to save Austria was to establish the seat of the League of Nations at Vienna and said that he and the French had been exploring the possibility of accomplishing this but that they had little or no hope that the move might be made.

I asked Litvinoff if, in view of the probability that the Eastern Pact would collapse, he had gone any further with his discussions of a defensive agreement between France, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union. He replied that he had not and I derived the impression from various other remarks that he made during our conversation that the French, having got the Russians into the League, are beginning to show a certain lethargy with regard to guaranteeing the frontiers of the Soviet Union.

  1. Ante, p. 154.
  2. See vol. ii, pp. 1 ff.
  3. Rumania, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.