740.00111 A.R./1132: Telegram

The Chargé in Mexico (Boal) to the Secretary of State

165. Department’s telegram No. 144, May 21, 6 p.m.41 In a strictly confidential conversation this morning General Hay, Minister for Foreign Affairs, gave me the following information to be transmitted in confidence to the Department. The German Minister42 called on him May 21 and presented three confidential memoranda.

1. A memorandum protesting against the Argentine non-belligerency proposal and the protest of the American Republics against the invasion of Holland, Belgium and Luxemburg. This memorandum after reciting the above proposals states that the German Government would consider it an unfriendly act for the Mexican Government to participate in these proposals. It argues that hasty conclusions are being drawn since the status of these nations can be restored later. It attributes the origin of the protest against the invasion of the Low Countries to the United States although the initiative was actually taken by Uruguay. It accuses the United States of endeavoring to stir up animosity toward Germany in the Latin American countries and of endeavoring to interfere with the friendly relations of Germany with the other American Republics. It urges Mexico to disregard the suggestions of the United States and to take a firm stand on behalf of its own “neutral” position.

2. A memorandum protesting against the statements in the press attributed to Ambassador Daniels regarding Nazi activities in Mexico. It refers to these as having been made in Mexico before the Ambassador’s departure for the United States. It says that French-British agents are active in Mexico trying to foment trouble between Mexico and Germany; that the Ambassador’s statements may be attributed [Page 792] to misinformation supplied the Embassy by irresponsible agents. It speculates on whether Ambassador Daniels did not make these statements about Nazi activities to distract attention from the activities of the British and French agents in Mexico. The memorandum further states that British and French agents are trying to make it appear that German agents are threatening the safety of the Panama Canal and organizing in Mexico for sabotage in order to increase the tension between Germany and the United States and to frighten the Latin American Republics into distrust and hostility towards Germany.


3. A memorandum attempting to justify German invasion of the Low Countries on the ground that such invasion was already prepared by France and England and was imminent.

General Hay stated that he had replied orally and in a preliminary fashion to the first two memoranda as follows:

1. Mexico’s attitude and line of conduct in this matter is based on the general principles arising out of the successive Pan-American conferences. It is not inimical to any particular country but is consistent with Mexico’s attitude at Geneva and at the Pan-American conferences throughout. Mexico protested against the invasion of Finland and at the same time did not agree to the proposal for expulsion of Russia from the League of Nations43 because the League had not taken similar action with regard to Italy and Germany when they attacked weaker countries.

The protest against the invasion of the Low Countries did not within the knowledge of the Mexican Government originate with the United States and in any event Mexico’s foreign policy is entirely independent and the decisions which it has reached in this matter are its own decisions and are immutable.

2. General Hay expressed surprise that the German Minister should present a protest to the Mexican Government against the utterances of a foreign ambassador to Mexico. The proper channel for the presentation of this protest would be through the German Embassy in Washington to the United States Government. Hay was unwilling to take into consideration any action on the part of his Government on the protest presented to him and declined to give any weight to the imputations assigned by the memoranda regarding possible motives of Ambassador Daniels.

3. Being merely an informative memorandum stating German contentions regarding the invasion of Low Countries required no answer. Hay stated he had prepared written replies to the first two memoranda in the sense I have given above which he would transmit to the German Minister.

He read me all of the foregoing at considerably greater length from a memorandum he had made of the conversation which he had had with German Minister. He added that he had today sent a telegram [Page 793] to the Foreign Minister of Panama suggesting that the American Republics consider including in their protest a reference to the invasion of Norway and Denmark. He remarked that when the protest on the invasion of the Low Countries was first presented to him by the Uruguayan Minister here he had suggested some changes designed to simplify and clarify the text by the omission of some references and that he gathered from what he had seen in the newspapers that some account had been taken of his suggestions although he had specifically stated that with a view to expediting the matter he would not stand on his suggestions if it were desired to proceed with the original text.

General Hay requested that all of the foregoing be treated in the utmost confidence and that it be kept from the knowledge of the German Minister that he had discussed these matters with me. He said that he did not feel free to give me any written summary, memorandum, or copy on the matter but in view of his great confidence in the United States and friendliness for our Government was willing to give me the foregoing information orally and personally to study. Hence the foregoing summary of the three German memoranda and the two replies is from memory of what General Hay read me aloud rather rapidly in Spanish. As I left I noticed that the German Minister was there to see the Minister for Foreign Affairs, this being the day the Minister for Foreign Affairs receives members of the Corps.

Day before yesterday Durban in discussing with me the steps connected with the drafting of the protest on the invasion of the Low Countries remarked that there had been a reference to the resolution on Christian morality which had caused some difficulty to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in connection with the conference he last attended at Panama and that one of the General’s desires was to have this reference eliminated. He gathered that this had been or would be done.

  1. See footnote 36, p. 788.
  2. Baron Ruedt Collenberg.
  3. See section entitled “Proposed Collective Protest by the American Republics Against the Soviet Invasion of Finland,” Foreign Relations, 1939, Vol. v, pp. 128 ff. For correspondence regarding the Soviet-Finnish war and the expulsion of the Soviet Union from the League of Nations, see ibid., Vol. i, pp. 952 ff.