125.733/39: Telegram

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

631. Department’s 273, July 8, 5 p.m. Owing to the fact that there was no assurance that the German authorities would not take without notice some measures affecting the Consulate General at Prague, in the event that no further observations on our part were offered in regard to the statements contained in the Foreign Office note of June 30, I requested an interview with Weizsaecker, State Secretary of the Foreign Office, as the Chief of Protocol with whom I discussed the matter previously was absent on leave.

Weizsaecker received me this morning and I first pointed out to him the difference between the oral statement which I made on May 26 and the reference to that statement as set forth in the Foreign Office note of June 30. The State Secretary took note of my explanation but replied that there was no misunderstanding on the part of the Foreign Office of the real purport of my statement.

I then explained the Department’s position as set forth in its letter to the Treasury of March 17 and emphasized the disadvantages and hardships which would result from the refusal of the German Government to grant an exequatur to the American Consul General at Prague. Furthermore in the course of these observations I made full use of the enumeration of the special consequences as set forth by the Department which might ensue from a possible interruption of the functions of the Prague Consulate General.

Although the discussion of these matters was prolonged and thoroughly outspoken on both sides I regret to state that the State Secretary said nothing which might indicate a willingness to depart from the position outlined in the Foreign Office note of June 30. He frankly stated that if an exequatur for Linnell had been requested [Page 462] without having made the oral statement as to the maintenance of the position of the American Government with regard to Czechoslovakia the exequatur would have been granted and the matter would have been adjusted without comment or publicity. In reply to my inquiry as to whether a request for and issuance of an exequatur on that basis would have constituted in the minds of the German authorities a recognition of German sovereignty over Bohemia and Moravia, he stated and restated that an exequatur was granted as an act of sovereignty and entailed a recognition of that sovereignty and referred to the statements in the German note which he insisted were juridically accurate. Weizsaecker furthermore indicated that Linnell would not be allowed to function without an exequatur and merely offered the suggestion as a solution of the difficulty that the oral statement in question be withdrawn. This withdrawal it must be assumed would concede the German contention as set forth in its note.

In conclusion I informed the State Secretary that I could only communicate his views to my Government and was assured that although he was not aware of the attitude which the Reich authorities in Bohemia and Moravia were at present adopting or contemplating concerning the functions of the American Consul General in Prague he assumed that no definite action in that regard would be taken without prior notification to the Embassy.