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

No. 2617

Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a clipping39 from the January 20 edition of the (London) Morning Post, with regard to an alleged military agreement between Germany and Japan.

We discussed the clipping confidentially with the Berlin correspondent of the Post. He stated that his information came from a responsible ministerial source and he had believed it to be substantially accurate when sending it to his paper. Since then the substance matter was denied orally by the Foreign Office in a telephone conversation [Page 20]which the Post correspondent had yesterday. Nevertheless, he had now received further confirmation and believed that the possibility of a German-Japanese agreement in some such form is credited in London official circles.

We have been quite suspicious for some time of an arrangement of this character but have had no definite or satisfactory confirmation. Several days ago, however, we learned from an unofficial but extremely well informed German source that some such arrangement was arrived at last October or early November between Ribbentrop40 and the Japanese, which, our informant said, was at Japanese instigation although not as wide in scope as the Japanese would have desired.

I might also add that the Naval and Military Attachés told us recently that they had been much struck with a dinner party at the Japanese Naval Attaché’s a short time ago which all the highest German naval officers attended, a most unprecedented happening in Berlin, we understand, where admirals and the like do not apparently honor naval attaches with their company at dinner, etc.

With these indications supporting our suspicion, we have thought it worth while to send their substance to the American Delegation at the London Naval Conference to see if Mr. Davis can give us any further light on this score. Meanwhile we are pursuing the matter locally in the course of our effort to try and keep the Department currently informed of any developments in German-Japanese relations.

Respectfully yours,

William E. Dodd
  1. Not reprinted; but see quotation in report by Military Attaché in Germany, January 30, p. 31.
  2. Joachim von Ribbentrop, Special Ambassador at Large for Adolf Hitler.