121.840 Welles, Sumner/54: Telegram

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

491. I am informed that the following statements were made by the official spokesman at an informal conference at the Propaganda Ministry today. When asked by correspondents if anything could be said about the impending visit to Berlin of Mr. Welles, the reply was made that no official information and only press reports had been received but that the Under Secretary apparently was coming to Berlin directly from Rome. It was stated that an American correspondent in Berlin had sent a story yesterday saying that the American Chargé had called on State Secretary Weizsäcker yesterday when all the details of Mr. Welles’ visit had been arranged, that Mr. Welles would arrive in Berlin Tuesday,15 and that he would remain Tuesday and Wednesday. The spokesman stated that correspondents in Berlin should expect to receive from German sources no information regarding Mr. Welles’ visit other than certain facts concerning his formal program such as his calls and appointments as it would be incorrect and ill-advised to give out information about the visit of which the entire purpose would be negatived if any Government with which Mr. Welles discussed the situation should give out information concerning the discussions. The spokesman added that it was not to be expected that the German press would give much publicity to the visit and concluded that the Americans themselves apparently desired no extensive publicity in the matter.

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I understand that at the press conference at the Foreign Office at noon today the Chief of the Press Section stated in reply to a question that the program for Mr. Welles’ visit had been fixed but that he could give out no information regarding the program or regarding any other aspect of Mr. Welles’ visit in Berlin. He stated that the visit “will take place outside the press” and added that he did not know when Mr. Welles was expected in Berlin.

As regards the statement above in reference to my visit yesterday at the Foreign Office, I desire to point out that no information was forthcoming concerning the program of Mr. Welles’ visit; that I do not expect any advices on the matter until Mr. Welles arrives in Rome and that in reply to inquiries I have so notified American Press correspondents here.

Repeated to Rome.

  1. February 27.