The Chargé in Germany (Geist) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 17—2:25 p.m.]
256. I learn that last night Ribbentrop16 conferred with Hitler for about an hour before the latter’s departure from Berlin regarding President Roosevelt’s message and it was finally decided to answer the message in a speech before the Reichstag on April 28. This method [Page 139] of replying to the President’s telegram was chosen in order to assure Hitler of a wide hearing before the world.
Informed German official sources state that Hitler will endeavor to drive home two points: First, to parry Roosevelt’s maneuver of placing upon Germany the war guilt in respect of a possible future war, and, second, to disprove Roosevelt’s imputation that the totalitarian states are embued with ill-will against other nations in Europe and are planning aggressive acts against them.
The official German attitude toward the President’s message is now clearly exemplified in the official and unofficial press comment which I am informed truly reflects the official attitude. Hitler I understand will answer the President’s message in extenso turning the arguments point for point against not only the President and American policy in particular but against the democracies generally.
Judging from the comments of German official sources indirectly reported to me the message has not contributed in the least to a relaxation of tension as the German attitude is increasingly aggressive and belligerently confident.
At the end of next week staff talks are scheduled to take place here between German, Italian and Spanish generals during which military plans and eventualities covering a large area are to be discussed. About 10 Italian generals and naval officers will take part in the conversations. General Moscardo will be among the Spanish officers present.
In reference to the first paragraph above the evening press has just announced the meeting of the Reichstag on April 28th for the purpose stated.
- Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Minister for Foreign Affairs.↩