740.0011 Mutual Guarantee (Locarno)/364: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Straus) to the Secretary of State

168. Marriner49 saw Massigli this morning who indicated that the Foreign Office while not unprepared for some act of Germany indicating its intention to denounce the Locarno Treaty, had not expected the matter to be brought to a head at this time. He did not think that it was necessarily done in accordance with any agreement with Italy but was merely taking advantage of the situation created by the Italo-Ethiopian difficulties at Geneva. He said that legally Germany had no right to make a unilateral denunciation of the treaty which, in accordance with its terms (article 8), could only be terminated one year after a vote of two thirds of the Council of the League of Nations acting on a three months notification by one of the high contracting parties. This would mean that the treaty would remain [Page 207] in force legally until at least June 1937. Nevertheless, any declaration not to abide by its terms would ruin the effectiveness of the treaty and any conditions made by Germany for continuation of participation would raise endless difficulties with respect to security in Europe as now envisaged.

At the moment of the conversation with Massigli, von Neurath was receiving the French Ambassador in Berlin and the German Chargé d’Affaires was at the Foreign Office here.

Massigli said that it would now be impossible for Flandin50 to make the trip to Geneva and that he therefore did not expect to leave himself for the scheduled meeting of the Council of Thirteen on Monday. A meeting of the Cabinet has been called for this afternoon to consider what effect the notification of the denunciation of the Locarno Treaty might bring about.

When Marriner left Massigli was about to go into consultation with one of the high officers of the General Staff, perhaps on the basis of an unconfirmed press report now circulating that a small detachment of the German army has just entered Cologne.

Ciphers to London, Rome, Berlin, Geneva.

  1. Telegram in two sections.
  2. Theodore Marriner, Counselor of Embassy in France.
  3. Pierre Etienne Flandin, French Minister for Foreign Affairs, January 24–June 4, 1936.