740.0011 European War 1939/10016: Telegram

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

1448. According to an authoritative source the pertinent German Ministries have been informed that the army expects shortly to occupy all of Yugoslavia and Greece and Egypt as well and have been instructed to immediately select and send full staffs for the administrative supervision of those countries. Because of the demands made on the German bureaucracy in connection with the countries already occupied it is proving a rather difficult matter for the Ministries to form new administrative staffs for the areas expected to fall to German arms. My informant stated that the feeling in the Ministries is one of nearly absolute certainty of early complete occupation of Yugoslavia, Greece and Egypt, that the German general staff had anticipated the quick successes of war gained in the Balkans and that they had occurred only slightly in advance of expectations. He said that it was rumored in the Ministries that Simovitch had already made some armistice overture.

He further stated that the economic authorities of the Reich were entirely cognizant of the fact that the occupation of Greece and Yugoslavia and even of Egypt would not only not strengthen Germany’s general economic position but would eventually render it more difficult. They and the army had hoped that war could be avoided in Yugoslavia and Greece.

In conclusion he said that while the informed opinion of the Ministries was that Egypt would shortly fall he personally was somewhat inclined to doubt this prediction. He knew that the gasoline supply was for the moment a serious problem and that the German forces so far landed in Libya were not considered adequate to conquer Egypt. He personally did not feel certain that the Axis would be able to surmount these difficulties of supply and reinforcement.