740.00/114: Telegram

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

31. Litvinov38 has returned from Geneva and I called upon him yesterday. During the course of our conversation he said that he failed to understand why England and France were continually making overtures to Hitler. By sending out notes and questionnaires relating to Germany’s attitude they were accentuating Hitler’s importance [Page 40] and making him feel that he was realizing his ambition to be the dominating figure in Europe. Hitler’s policy was still that outlined in his book Mein Kampf and he continued to be dominated by a lust for conquest. Great Britain should understand that if he once became master of the Continent he would swallow also the British Isles. The wisest policy for France and Great Britain to adopt with respect to Hitler would be to ignore him. I gained the impression that Litvinov was somewhat apprehensive lest there should be some composition of differences between France, Great Britain and Germany.

During a conversation which I had with Neymann39 on February 1, he told me that he had learned from reliable sources that the Germans had divided the wars into which Germany might become involved into two categories, namely, all foreign and partly foreign wars. The latter category differed from the former in that they would be accompanied by civil wars in the countries which might be attacked. German military authorities had decided that Germany would not be prepared to engage in an all foreign war before 1938 but that if found advisable it could with possible success wage a partly foreign war during the present year. Czechoslovakia and Spain had already been classified as countries in which a partly foreign war might be waged and the recent trial had shown that with the aid of the Trotskiists Germany had hoped so to disrupt Soviet unity as to place the Soviet Union in the same category.

  1. Maxim Litvinov, Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Alexey Fedorovich Neymann, Chief of the Third Western Political Division of the Soviet Commissariat for Foreign Affairs.