740.00/104: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

378. Conversations here both with British and French have clarified in my mind the policy which the two Governments may be expected to adopt in regard to Germany.

In his recent series of speeches Eden has embodied his philosophical conception of modern democracy with the intention of making clear to the British public his attitude toward the Continent and particularly towards Germany. This attitude may be summarized in a series of points: (a) No organization or combination to threaten Germany; (b) commitments by Great Britain to perform such acts only as the British Cabinet is convinced the public will carry through at a moment of crisis; (c) such commitments to be unequivocal and visible; (d) no further piecemeal concessions to Germany in the hope of appeasing the appetite of that country; (e) an open willingness to treat Germany’s needs with the utmost generosity if and when the German Government indicates a disposition to enter into real cooperation with the states of Europe and make a thorough-going agreement which will guarantee the peace of Europe.

It appears that Blum had under consideration further piecemeal concessions to Germany. For that reason Eden stopped in Paris to expound to him the British conception which lay behind Eden’s declarations. My informants were convinced that Eden had impressed Blum, and the latter’s speech yesterday in Lyon seems to confirm this idea.

This vigorous British leadership is the result of that return to self-confidence in Great Britain which I analyzed in my despatch 4731, December 21, 1936,23 and is probably indicative of the guiding principles that will determine the relations of Great Britain and France towards Germany, at least for the immediate future.

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The British apparently have reached the conclusion that until the German Government is impressed with the necessity of cooperative action and until it is willing to forego that complete autarchy which now governs its policy, further concession is not only useless but even contributes to the maintenance of the present German self-insulation.

  1. Not printed.