862.002 Hitler, Adolf/34

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

No. 600

Sir: Referring to my confidential telegram No. 48, of March 6, 12 noon, I have the honor to enclose herewith copies and translation of the memorandum therein mentioned. It will be noticed that this was not written on stamped paper nor did it bear any initial or signature. [Page 513] There does not seem, therefore, to be any necessity for the Department to make a reply other than that contained in its cable No. 29, of March 6, 1 p.m., the gist of which I shall transmit to the Foreign Office whenever the occasion presents itself.

If however the Department desires to make some observations in regard to the German propaganda in the United States it seems to me that portions of this memorandum would afford a convenient pretext; I do not in any sense wish to recommend that the Department make a reply, merely to mention the possibilities.

Respectfully yours,

William E. Dodd

The German Foreign Office to the American Embassy

The Reich Government is aware that the liberalistic principle of free expression of opinion is held in particularly high esteem in the United States of America and that the American Federal Government therefore usually rejects complaints about public vilification of a foreign country in America, giving as its reason the fact that it possesses no legal handle (Handhabe) for interfering.

There is no intention of questioning the legal correctness of this standpoint in the least. However, it is a well-known fact that the American Government has nevertheless found ways and means repeatedly to oppose, in an effective manner, machinations intended to incite public sentiment against another country if there was danger that such public agitation might endanger or frustrate important political aims of the American Government.

In view of a far more malicious demonstration which is being planned by the American Jewish Congress and the American Federation of Labor in the form of a mock trial to take place in New York on the 7th of this month, the Reich Government considers it appropriate to point out that the efforts on both sides to maintain good relations are being most seriously impeded by the agitation against the New Germany and its leaders which has been carried on for a year in the United States.

What has been done in this connection in the course of one year in the way of malicious and insulting expressions in public assemblies, in the press, in the moving pictures, in the theaters, and, indeed, from the pulpit, would fill many volumes.

Suffice it to mention a few of the most glaring facts here:

Based on press reports of monstrous atrocities alleged to have been perpetrated in Germany, which later proved to be quite unfounded or grossly exaggerated, large meetings of protest were held in numerous cities in the United States at which the vilest abuse [Page 514] against members of the Reich Government was voiced by prominent persons, including members of the Federal Congress, mayors, judges, and even from the church pulpits. These sources of abuse combine together to combat the new German system of government—a combat tantamount to direct interference in the internal affairs of another country which has been carried on ever since in the most unrestrained manner.
One of the weapons of this combat is the boycott of German goods and German shipping which has been preached in the United States for the past year and which is brought up again from time to time in public meetings; such boycott has most seriously compromised the efforts of both Governments to promote an interchange of goods between the two countries and, at any rate, has reduced Germany’s balance of payments with regard to the United States that the fulfillment of the obligations of German companies to their American creditors has only been partially possible.
Based on lying press reports, members of the Reich Government have for almost a year, in the filthiest manner, been branded as the instigators of the Reichstag fire in the American newspapers, and in spite of the regular settlement of the trial in question, the entire course of which was accompanied by the most spiteful commentaries of the American press, public sentiment is still being roused in favor of dangerous characters like Dimitroff as if they were martyrs of a cause approved by public opinion in that country.
On the pretext of proceedings against Heinz Spanknoebel, a Reich citizen who was residing in New York without orders from the Reich Government or an official German department (Stelle), dozens of persons were heard before the Grand Jury in New York as well as before a commission of inquiry in Washington, illegally appointed by Congressman Samuel Dickstein, for the obvious purpose of suggesting to American public opinion the belief that a whole army of “Nazi agents” was secretly working in the United States to undermine the Constitution of the United States and to bring about a National Socialist revolution.
For a year it has been drummed into the American public by numerous American newspapers and magazines as well as by public speakers that the taking over of power in Germany by the National Socialists meant a new European war. Regardless of the fact that the official statements and the acts of the Reich Chancellor prove the contrary, not only is public opinion in the United States being systematically poisoned against Germany in that way, but, in addition, the feeling of general insecurity, which is one of the most powerful causes of the economic crisis, is fostered thereby in the most serious manner.
For a year the German Ambassador in Washington has been publicly insulted in the most improper manner and accused of illegal machinations against the United States. Furthermore, several German consuls have been publicly insulted, and public demonstrations have taken place in front of various German consulates.
Foreign propagandists of the category of the British citizen, Lord Marley, editor of the lampoon “The Brown Book of the Hitler Terror,” have been allowed in recent times to give public lectures in the United States and to continue inciting public opinion against Germany in a most dangerous way.

[Page 515]

In the opinion of the Reich Government it is not in the least the right of American citizens to free expression of opinion which is involved in most of the cases cited here, but rather an inexcusable abuse thereof in numberless cases, practiced under the pretext of that right for the express purpose of undermining the relations of the United States with the New Germany.

No one will be able to say that the Reich Government, the German people, the National Socialist Party, or the German press showed excessive susceptibility with regard to these defamations which occurred practically every day. In the hope that the American public would eventually come to understand the New Germany and its leaders better and that then the defamations in question would automatically stop, the Reich Government has shown what may well be termed unexampled patience and restrained the German press from repaying insulting utterances of the American press in its own coin.

Since there is not the least sign, however, after a year’s time, that the said agitation against Germany is abating, but, on the contrary, since the mock trial planned for the 7th of March in New York specifically proves that this agitation is expected to go on in an even more malicious form, the Reich Government feels it is its duty to point out to the American Government that, in the long run, maintenance of friendly relations, sincerely desired by both Governments, is rendered extremely difficult thereby. In the interest of the cooperation which would seem urgently desirable to combat the economic world crisis, the German Government appeals to the American Government to use every means at its disposal to the end that the above-mentioned abuses of the right of free expression of opinion be discontinued.