862.00/3616: Telegram

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

308. In a decree published this morning Hitler charged Goering31 with the execution of the 4 year plan of economic self-sufficiency announced at the Nuremberg Congress. Goering is authorized to issue decrees and instructions to all officials for the purpose of putting this program into effect.

Contrary to the press reaction last April32 the press this time immediately burst forth in approval of this action which the Völkischer Beobachter without once mentioning Sehacht’s name interprets as placing all economic power in Goering’s hands and [Page 156] emphasizes particularly that he will be supreme in all questions of economic policy. This decree has naturally given rise to many rumors concerning the position of Schacht but after canvassing various sources it is not believed that his retirement is imminent or that any radical alterations of his present system are at present envisaged. In this respect a parallel may be drawn between this situation and that of last April. See Embassy’s 121, April 28, 6 p.m.33

On the other hand from surface indications the increasing insistence of Left Party members on a more radical program with greater emphasis on the necessity for Germany’s economic self-sufficiency and greater industrial control may result in diminishing Schacht’s essentially dictatorial economic powers. Even if this proves to be the case it is generally thought that he would remain as the technician.

In certain quarters it is also believed that the military aspects of the 4-year plan are assuming greater significance and that the army may possibly be taking added interest in the execution of the program particularly as a step toward industrial mobilization.

However much of the comment at this time is obviously speculation and the real significance of this decree will only appear when the actual details of the plan are known and when the conditions upon which it will be put into operation are clarified.

Dodd
  1. Hermann Goering, German Minister for Aviation.
  2. In April 1936 Goering was given authority over all raw materials and foreign exchange questions.
  3. Not printed.