The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Atherton) to the Secretary of State

No. 1302

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my strictly confidential telegram No. 116, March 18, 5 p.m., and my telegram No. 117, March 18, 7 p.m. A copy of the White Paper issued last night by the Government, containing the text of the note already telegraphed to the Department is enclosed herewith.45 Late last night in the House of Commons, shortly before adjournment, Sir John Simon referred to the information given earlier during the session at question time to the effect that the British Ambassador in Berlin had been instructed to deliver a note to the German Government, and said that he had since received a report from the British Ambassador in Berlin, the effect of which he wished to convey to the House. The British Ambassador had informed Sir John that, having delivered the note, the note was considered by Baron von Neurath, the Foreign Minister, and as a result the British Ambassador had been informed that the German Government did still wish the visit of the British Foreign Minister to take place and that they agreed that the conversations would be carried on within the scope and for the purpose previously agreed. Sir John then pointed out that the House would see that the condition which the British thought they should lay down was accepted by the German Government. He added that he understood that the German Government had already announced its reply in Berlin.

In the light of these developments, the Foreign Office has announced that Sir John will leave for Berlin as originally planned, on Sunday, accompanied by Mr. Eden. The latter will be present in Berlin throughout the conversations between Sir John Simon and Herr Hitler, and the German Ministers. At the end of these talks, Mr. Eden will go on to Moscow by train, and he is scheduled to arrive there on the morning of Thursday, March 28. On the return journey to England, he is expected to pay a visit to Warsaw.

I think it may be safely asserted that the principal desire of the British Government is to get Germany back into the League of Nations and again a part of a collective system from which she would then find it extremely difficult to withdraw. This motive, which is the dominating note in British policy toward Germany, goes far to explain the apparent mildness of the British note of yesterday. [Page 305] Opinion here generally approves of the British Government’s taking the initiative in directly challenging the German Government, as may be seen from the editorial comment appearing in today’s papers. Single copies of these editorials are enclosed herewith, as listed below.46

Respectfully yours,

Ray Atherton
  1. British Cmd. 4848, Germany No. 1 (1935).
  2. Not printed.