751.62/333: Telegram

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

1. The French Ambassador recently had a long talk with Hitler ostensibly in connection with the death of the German Ambassador at Paris. French Embassy informing us of this conversation stressed Hitler’s friendly attitude at the time.
Hitler talked at some length on the Italian-Abyssinian situation2 which seemed to worry him considerably. He felt Mussolini had been very foolish not to accept immediately the Hoare-Laval proposals.3
The question of the Franco-Soviet agreement4 was also discussed and I gather somewhat to the disquiet of François-Poncet. While Hitler did not claim that a Franco-Soviet agreement would be [Page 181] in violation of Locarno5 he did indicate his feeling that such a pact would not be in harmony with it.
In discussing this point the French Embassy showed some concern over the possible implications with regard to the demilitarized zone if the Franco-Soviet pact became effective. The French Embassy did not know whether Hitler had as a primary purpose an excuse to rid Germany of the “artificial” situation in the demilitarized zone or of thinking in more general and farsighted fashion with an idea of warning off the French from any agreement with Russia which might draw the French into a conflict if and when Germany pursues its supposed purpose of an attack on Russia.
Dieckhoff6 has gone to Paris to represent the German Government at the funeral services of the late German Ambassador. There is a rumor that he will remain on for a time until a new ambassador is chosen which if so would indicate that important discussions are now in progress. The French Embassy, however, gave the impression that he had gone to Paris solely for courtesy sake and will be returning to Berlin at once.
Contrary to certain recent newspaper reports Sir Eric Phipps7 did not have a second interview with Hitler last month. Both the Foreign Office and the French Embassy have so stated. It is apparently a fact, however, that in his one talk with Sir Eric, Hitler also spoke at great length against a Franco-Soviet alliance.

Repeated to Paris, Rome, London, Geneva.

  1. See vol. iii, pp. 34 ff.
  2. Communicated jointly by Sir Samuel Hoare, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and Pierre Laval, French Premier and Foreign Minister, to Italy on December 11, 1935, and to Ethiopia on December 12. See British Cmd. 5044, Ethiopia No. 1 (1935), pp. 16 ff; see also Foreign Relations, 1935, vol. i, pp. 699 ff.
  3. Treaty of Mutual Assistance, signed May 2, 1935; French ratification completed by action of the Senate on March 12, 1936; and ratifications exchanged on March 27, 1936. For text, see League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. clxvii, p. 395.
  4. Treaty of Mutual Guaranty Between Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Italy, signed October 16, 1925: for text see Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vol. xiii, p. 841, or League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. liv, p. 289.
  5. Hans Heinrich Dieckhoff, head of the Political Department of the German Foreign Office.
  6. British Ambassador in Germany.