The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Kennedy) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 24—5:36 p.m.]
734. I have just seen Halifax and delivered to him the messages contained in your 381, May 23, 11 a.m.90 He told me that after his conference with the Russians in Geneva he made up his mind that if he were going to make any deal with them at all it would more or less have to be along their lines. So with that firmly fixed in his own mind he came back this morning and sold the idea to the Cabinet [Page 260] but, in order that their humiliation will not be too great in having to step down from their original plan and accept the Russians’ plan, they decided to put it under the cloak of the League platform of anti-aggression and bring in Poland and Turkey and all the rest under the same canopy. But what it really amounts to is that France, Russia, and England will make an anti-aggression pact, all agreeing to come to the aid of the others if they are attacked by any European power and also if any one of the countries finds itself involved in a war with anyone to protect any country the others will join in. They intend to handle the Baltic States by making an agreement that if any states are attacked while trying to preserve neutrality they are all in to save them. This is going to require some maneuvering and a good deal of secrecy, but Halifax is of the opinion that it will finally work out. The Russians have evinced a great willingness to have staff talks with the French and English as quickly as possible, once the agreement is signed, in order to prepare to use their resources, and Halifax is of the opinion now that, unless there is some nigger in the woodpile he cannot see, the arrangement will be made. He said the French told him they have almost agreed on their deal with Turkey, so that is cleaned up.
He told me he had a long private talk with Ambassador Dirksen91 away from the Foreign Office. Dirksen told him that whatever might be said of Hitler, he was not without judgment and sense and he was not going to take on a row with France and England and Turkey and Poland and Russia (and the United States not far behind). Here Halifax thought it very strange that Dirksen should include Russia, at a time when it looked like there was a very wide breach between Russia and England in the settlement of their difficulties. Halifax then suggested to Dirksen that word be got to Hitler that if he would make a speech or a gesture of some kind that he did not want war and that he was hoping for peace and that while Danzig was an irritant it could probably be worked out, regardless of what popular opinion in this country might be, Halifax assured Dirksen that officially England would welcome the statement and would so reply.
Halifax in the meantime is preparing a speech which he is going to give before some organization, trying to hold the door open for economic discussions with Hitler and has suggested that he will let Dirksen see the speech before he delivers it to see if any suggestions might be made.