862.002 Hitler, Adolf/39

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Germany (White)

No. 159

Sir: With reference to the Ambassador’s despatch No. 600 of March 8, transmitting a copy and translation of a memorandum handed to the Ambassador on March 5 protesting at certain expressions of American opinion unfavorable to Germany, I desire you to leave at the Foreign Office the following aide-mémoire:47

“The aide-mémoire which was handed to the American Ambassador at the German Foreign Office on March 5, 1934, expressed in a tone of asperity unusual in a diplomatic communication, the displeasure of [Page 521] the German Government at certain expressions of American public opinion. This, it would seem, requires no reply, since the Government of the Reich clearly sets forth in the first paragraph its realization that the free expression of public opinion is a fundamental right in the United States. Moreover, it is well known that the free exercise of religion, the freedom of speech and of the press, and the right of peaceable assembly, are not only guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution of the United States, but are beliefs deep-seated in the political consciousness of the American people. It is noted, however, that the remainder of the aide-mémoire is made up of the citation of instances in which the German Government feels that these principles should have been disregarded. It appears, therefore, that the points of view of the two Governments, with respect to the issues of free speech and assembly, are irreconcilable, and that any discussion of this difference could not improve relations which the United States Government desires to preserve on as friendly a basis as the common interest of the two peoples demands.”

For your strictly confidential information only, I was unable to share the view expressed by the Embassy that it might be possible to leave the German aide-mémoire unanswered. In view of the tone and substance of the communication, I wish our position made a matter of record.

Very truly yours,

Cordell Hull
  1. Delivered at the Foreign Office on April 10.