740.0011 Mutual Guarantee (Locarno)/373: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Soviet Union (Bullitt) to the Secretary of State

79. Hitler’s speech has caused great excitement in both Soviet and diplomatic circles in Moscow.

Litvinov displayed almost violent rage in his comments on Hitler. I asked him if he would not welcome the German-Lithuanian pact of nonaggression proposed by Hitler as it would afford a barrier to German attack on the Soviet Union via the Baltic States. He replied that the promise of a dog, liar, and blackguard like Hitler was worthless to Lithuania or any other country.

In this connection the Polish Ambassador, the Lithuanian Minister and Estonian Minister expressed to me the opinion that Lithuania would feel obliged to enter into such a pact with Germany unless Germany’s conditions with regard to Memel should prove to be too onerous. The Estonian Minister stated positively that both his Government and that of Latvia would advise Lithuania strongly to conclude such an agreement with Germany. The Polish Ambassador also stated that his Government would approve such a pact.

I asked Litvinov if he hoped that France would march troops into the Rhineland. He replied that he did not as that would mean immediate war. He then expressed the opinion that there was no chance whatsoever that French troops would enter the Rhineland.

I asked him what action he thought might be taken. He replied that he believed that Hitler’s declaration definitely put an end to all possibility of sanctions against Italy but hoped that the sanctions which now were being applied against Italy might be applied against Germany.

He said that he had received word this evening that there would be a meeting of the Council of the League of Nations in Geneva on March 10th and added that he would like to attend the meeting but that he would be unable to reach Geneva by March 10th even if he should leave Moscow tomorrow morning. If the meeting should be postponed he would attend.

Litvinov said that he was disgusted by the proposal of Hitler to reenter the League of Nations and even more disgusted by the fact that the British would welcome the reentry of Germany. He said “it means the death of the League. The League has no meaning at all unless it stands for collective security. Hitler has made it clear in his address that he intends to carry out a policy of complete hostility against Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. It is impossible [Page 213] to imagine the League functioning in the direction of collective security if Germany is a member of the League.”

Litvinov stressed especially the extreme danger in which Hitler’s address placed Czechoslovakia.

I had a long conversation on this subject with Marshal Tukhachevsky, Assistant Commissar for Defense. He admitted that at the present moment the Soviet Union would be unable to bring any military aid to Czechoslovakia in case of German attack.

Both the Polish Ambassador and the Estonian Minister expressed themselves as not unfavorably impressed by Hitler’s declarations. The Polish Ambassador who has just returned from Warsaw and is one of Beck’s59a most intimate friends expressed the opinion that Hitler’s next step would be to englobe Austria and predicted that shortly thereafter Beneš60 would appear in Berlin on his knees.

I asked Litvinov if the violence of Hitler’s statements with regard to the Soviet Union would cause the Soviet Union to break off the negotiations which are now in progress in Berlin for a five hundred million mark credit from the German Government to the Soviet Union. Litvinov replied that in the past Hitler’s violent attacks on the Soviet Union had not hindered trade on credit and that he saw no reason why the credit negotiations should be abandoned.

In conclusion Litvinov expressed the opinion that Europe today was much closer to general war than in 1911.

  1. Józef Beck, Polish Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Eduard Beneš, President of Czechoslovakia.