811.659 Helium/120: Telegram (part air)

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

212. In a conversation last night Goering28 raised the matter of helium. He spoke with deep emotion and bluntness. He said that every German felt that after the Hindenburg disaster and the engagement to permit the sale and export of helium which had been more favorable, the reversal of policy could only mean deliberate unfriendliness [Page 460]on the part of the American Government. Relations between Germany and the United States had been brought to the lowest possible point and this over a matter of minor importance to both nations. He said “I cannot understand what leads a nation to earn the enmity of another over such a little thing”. He declared to me with considerable solemnity that as Chief of the Air Service he gave his word of honor that the helium would not be used for war purposes, indeed it would be too stupid to contemplate putting an airship into war service which could be shot down so readily. Germany, however, could not accept a control of its word of honor. If it was impossible to get helium the German people would not forget America’s attitude but it would not give up thereby the use of airships and would continue them with hydrogen.

  1. Hermann Göring, Reich Minister for Aviation.