740.0011 Mutual Guarantee (Eastern Locarno)/112

The Ambassador in Poland (Cudahy) to the Secretary of State

No. 625

I have the honor to report a discussion today with Colonel Józef Beck, Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the subject of the Pact of Mutual Assistance (Eastern Locarno).

I asked the Minister if he had anything to report concerning developments on this Pact. He stated that there had been no developments and that, in his opinion, all political negotiations in Europe had been impeded by what he characterized as the recent “tactless” remarks of Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald in the House of Commons and the publication of the British White paper concerning the policy of Great Britain on the question of armament.49 He said the situation of Great Britain vis-à-vis Germany in this connection was much like that which prevailed at the opening of the Disarmament Conference at Geneva in the spring of 193350 when the nations assembled for the purpose of discussing a universal policy of disarmament were busily engaged in increasing armaments. He at that time had advocated a policy of suspending military preparation pending a decision of the Conference, and the advocacy of this policy had been further amplified by the Polish delegate Raczyński. This proposal of Poland was given no consideration with the result that the Conference presented an attitude of inconsistency and lack of good faith towards Germany.

Today the announcement of MacDonald that Great Britain must rely upon force, and the further pointed statements in the British White paper that Germany’s course of rearmament made necessary defensive military measures by Great Britain was not dissimilar to the situation at the Disarmament Conference.

The Minister expressed the opinion that the Eastern Locarno negotiations had already degenerated into polemical discussions and that the Pact would probably never be executed. Reminding me of former conversations in which he had stated that the proposal was of Russian origin advocated by France, he said that its failure would greatly weaken the position of Litvinov, who had made a great mistake in announcing the Pact and giving it full publicity before discussing it with the nations contemplated as signatories thereto. In answer to a question as to whether the Polish Foreign Office had been officially advised of a visit to Warsaw by Sir John Simon, the Minister [Page 198] replied that the British Foreign Office had notified him that it contemplated sending a representative to Warsaw for the purpose of discussing European foreign relations. No person had been designated to make such a visit nor had any time been set for the visit, but he said that he expected a representative of Great Britain in Warsaw within a short time.

Respectfully yours,

John Cudahy
  1. British Cmd. 4827 (1935): Statement Relating to Defence Issued in Connexion with the House of Commons Deoate on March 11, 1935.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1933, vol. i, pp. 1 ff.