The Ambassador in France (Bullitt) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 17—3:35 p.m.]
261. The Foreign Office states that François-Poncet is seeing Ribbentrop at 5 o’clock this afternoon. The appointment was asked for the day before yesterday but Ribbentrop was unable to set an hour [Page 402] before this afternoon. François will request information concerning the exact significance of the meeting at Berchtesgaden on February 12 and will state that the French Government has a deep interest in whatever takes place in Central Europe.
The British Ambassador in Berlin saw Ribbentrop on the 15th and made a démarche along the lines of the foregoing. He was told that the discussion at Berchtesgaden with Schuschnigg had been concerned only with removing the causes of difficulties which had arisen from the working of the Austro-German agreement of July 1936 and that a communiqué would be issued shortly giving all pertinent information (this was before the final decision of the Austrian Government had become known).
The French do not expect to receive any more satisfactory or enlightening response from Ribbentrop than was given to the British. They state however that the fact that this step has been taken in Berlin by both the French and British Governments has some importance as manifesting the interest of both Governments in what transpires in Central Europe.
It seems clear, however, that the French and British action in Berlin has been taken mainly for the sake of the record out of a feeling that they could hardly afford to pass by recent events in complete silence.
Copies to Berlin, Vienna.