125.733/38: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Germany ( Kirk )

273. Your 582, July 3, 5 p.m. and 586, July 4, noon.5 In the Department’s letter to the Treasury on March 17,6 subsequently made public (see radio bulletin of same date), in connection with the occupation of Czechoslovak provinces by German armed forces, the Department declared that it was constrained by force of circumstances to regard the provinces as “now being under the de facto administration of the German authorities”. This was evidence of the acceptance by the Department of the de facto situation prevailing in Bohemia and Moravia.

You should request an interview at the Foreign Office with a view to discussing the situation. Firstly, you should reiterate Department’s point of view as set forth in paragraph 1. Secondly, you could state that if the Germans should pursue the narrow course which has been indicated in their note of June 30 it would result in no advantage to the German Government or the inhabitants of Bohemia and Moravia, and in fact it would inflict considerable hardships and disadvantages. In the course of your conversation you could imply that if the German Government should refuse to permit the Consulate General at Prague to function the Department would have to consider the possibility of a temporary closing of the Consulate General at Prague. In as much as the Department is not disposed to authorize the performance of consular services by any neighboring office, the disadvantages to German interests would be manifold. They would include the non-issuance of consular invoices which are required on shipments to the United States, with the consequent interruption of exports from that area; the non-execution of notarials; and the non-issuance of visas.

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In the course of your conversation you may call the attention of the German authorities to the divergence in your oral statement to the Foreign Office on May 26 and the statement imputed to you in the German note of June 30.

If you feel that the German Government would be disposed to allow Linnell to continue to carry on his duties without further action on our part, or if for any other reason you believe that the action proposed in this telegram should not be taken, you may postpone your approach to the Foreign Office and telegraph your views and any recommendations to us.

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. See Department of State, Press Releases, March 18, 1939, p. 200.