The British Embassy to the Department of State 23

You may tell Mr. Hull in the utmost secrecy that we hardly believe that anything exists quite so definite as an alliance, but we have no doubt that as between Germany and Japan machinery has been set up for a very full exchange of information as to communistic activities both inside and outside the U. S. S. R. and almost certainly the two General Staffs compare notes as to Russian military activities. We believe that Germany and Japan have provided for some kind of consultation in the case of either being threatened with Russian aggression and for a kind of permissive neutrality by either if the other is attacked but we have no reason to believe that Italy is included in these arrangements. No doubt each of the three would like the other two to believe that as regards information on general matters it keeps nothing back, but we do not believe in point of fact that either Germany or Japan give quite their full confidence to Italy. On the other hand no diplomatic document has for some time been dealt with by either Italy or Germany without consultation with the other, and the collaboration between the two has been of the closest. The gunnery practice which the Italian Government recently afforded in Italian waters to the German fleet, and with Italian targets is a facility for which no precedent exists except between allies in time of war.

All three may be expected to use the present agreement or alignment as a means of promoting their own interests in the world at large and in particular of organising joint pressure on ourselves if need be, but we cannot at present say how much more there is to it than this or how well the arrangement or its implications would stand up to any strain.

  1. Memorandum of reply from the British Government received by the British Embassy on November 25.