863.00/1800: Telegram (part air)

The Ambassador in Germany (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

400. The following respecting Schuschnigg has been disclosed in strict confidence by a customarily well informed German source:

Mussolini has twice personally intervened in Schuschnigg’s case, once in April and once during the last few days. Aside from personal considerations Mussolini is understood to have based his plea on Schuschnigg’s having been Chancellor of a State which was in friendly special relations with Italy.

It is understood that the present plan respecting Schuschnigg is that he will not be tried but that a document will be issued giving a history of his policy and activities and which will in effect charge him as a “German” with acting against the interests and the will of the “German” people. Following the issuance of this document Schuschnigg will remain in “preventive custody” until interest in his disloyalty has died down, whereupon he will be released and permitted to live as he chooses.

I wish to make clear that there is of course no assurance that this plan will be carried out.

Incidentally it is expected that Horthy3 while he is here will likewise speak for Schuschnigg. Moreover, there is a wide feeling among [Page 481] Germans, including members of the Party, against what is understood to be the present treatment of Schuschnigg. The difficulties seem to lie in that his case is in the hands of the Gestapo against which even powerful Party members often cannot prevail.

  1. Nicolas Horthy, Regent of Hungary.