Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Moffat)
Prince Eugene de Ligne, Counselor of the Belgian Embassy, called this morning to inquire as to the American reaction to the recent German decision to re-establish conscription, et cetera, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles and of the German-American Treaty of 1921.43 I told him that we were still receiving reports and did not feel that we as yet had a full and complete picture of the situation. He then asked how we analyzed American unofficial public opinion; I told him that I felt that the public at large and editorial opinion was guided by several considerations:
- that we should in no circumstance become involved in any trouble which might break out in Europe;
- that we had a very real interest in the maintenance of peace in Europe but not with the methods and details of its maintenance;
- that we considered a unilateral violation of a treaty a very serious matter;
- that the effect of Germany’s action upon disarmament, which was a national policy, might be serious.
Prince de Ligne then said that what Europe hoped was that the United States Government either via Dodd in Berlin or here via Luther44 would go on record as expressing its dismay at Germany’s action. He said that we still had a tremendous moral force in Europe and the great thing was to give that moral force public expression. If this were to be done, he hoped that there would not be too great a delay as time was essential in such matters.