862.002 Hitler, Adolf/107

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Western European Affairs (Dunn) to the Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary: The Counselor of the German Embassy, Dr. Thomsen, came in this morning, and stated that under instructions from the German Government to the Embassy he desired to call the attention of the Secretary to the remarks made by Mayor La Guardia yesterday at a luncheon attended by one thousand women of the Women’s Division of the American Jewish Congress at the Hotel Astor in New York.

I am attaching hereto a copy of an article from the New York Herald Tribune of today’s date59 reporting the remarks by Mayor La Guardia, in which he makes derogatory references to the Hitler Government and to the head of the German State.

Dr. Thomsen stated that his Government would like to know what the Secretary could do with regard to the insulting references to the German Government and the head of the German State by Mayor La Guardia.

The Counselor went on to say that participation in the New York Fair would, of course, be made very difficult in view of the antagonistic attitude of the Chief Executive of the City of New York toward the German Government and the Chief of the German State.

I told the Counselor that I would immediately report his message to you, and that I had no doubt that you yourself considered it most unfortunate that a city official should express himself in terms which might cause offense to a foreign government, and that on similar occasions you had always so expressed yourself.

Upon being informed by Mr. McDermott60 that you had replied to inquiries on the part of the press in the matter of Mayor La Guardia’s [Page 368] remarks in New York at the luncheon of the American Jewish Congress, I telephoned Dr. Thomsen of the German Embassy and told him that you had replied to these press inquiries and that you had desired me to inform him as to the general language you had used in these replies.61 Dr. Thomsen stated that he had already seen the form of the statement you had made, and that he thought it was very satisfactory and appreciated very much your prompt response to inquiries from the press in this regard. He pointed out that you had indicated in your response that you had not yet received the text of the Mayor’s remarks other than as reported in the press, and had seemed to indicate that you would pursue the matter further. I told Dr. Thomsen that you would of course pursue the matter in any manner in which you properly could within the limitations of the lack of the authority which existed here to repress or control any free expression of opinion. Dr. Thomsen said he appreciated this phase of the situation, and while expressing full appreciation for what you had done, would be glad to be informed at any later time in the event that you found it possible to pursue the matter further.

Dr. Thomsen then called my attention to the fact that when Mayor La Guardia was informed by the press in New York this morning that the German Government had officially protested to the State Department regarding his remarks of yesterday, he had taken occasion to launch forth further insulting references to the German Government and its Chief of State.

J[ames] C[lement] D[unn]
  1. Not reprinted.
  2. Michael J. McDermott, Chief of the Division of Current Information.
  3. For substance of replies, see Department of State, Press Releases, March 6, 1937, p. 133.