740.0011 Mutual Guarantee (Locarno)/409: Telegram

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

69. My 66, March 9, 7 p.m. In conversation with Foreign Office official last night it was learned that Neurath and Bülow78 had been opposing German participation at Friday’s Geneva meeting. We have reason to believe that personal questions enter largely into this attitude, including Neurath’s lack of capacity for such a job and the undesirability of having Ribbentrop finally selected.

Our Foreign Office informant who is directly concerned with the present situation said in confidence that they have a practical plan for bilateral demilitarization of the Franco-German frontier which would take into account the present French fortifications. The zone would be of different degrees commencing with an unoccupied strip [Page 234] up to the French fortifications on the French side and of corresponding depth on the German side without any military force or fortifications. Next a second section which could be fortified but not manned and occupied only by pickets and sentries. Then a third section with small detachments and supports but no large garrisons. In this way a zone of any desired depth could be mutually established. My informant stated that the Foreign Office did not consider the French were at present in any mood for discussion and the Foreign Office was holding this plan back in secret awaiting a favorable moment to present itself.

Regarding the memorandum,79 we are told on excellent authority that while the technical phrasing of the seven points was by Gaus, Chief of the Legal Division in the Foreign Office, Hitler himself really prepared the memorandum.

  1. Bernhard Wilhelm von Bülow, German State Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
  2. See telegram No. 60, March 7, 4 p.m., from the Ambassador in Germany, p. 207.