740.00119 European War 1939/1244: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State

491. Italian officers furloughed home late December report having seen Christmas furlough orders German officers and men in which possessors instructed not report back to units in Russia but at specifically designated centers in Reich and France in event armistice concluded in meantime with Russia.

Reliable source reported on return here from Madrid that about mid-December serious people there were discussing (with little justification he thought) a separate German-Russian peace liberating German troops which by their pressure on Spanish frontier would cause Spain to grant them passage.

Zurich Consulate reports January 15 that German agents spreading rumors locally of possible early Russo-German understanding enabling Germany to concentrate efforts in West.

Legation note: Although quite possible Germany has at no time renounced hope separate peace with Russia and even may have been [Page 622] making periodic soundings to that end the recurrence after several months interruption of stories of separate peace possibilities is interesting. Perhaps in order to bolster home and front morale for a month or so German official propaganda felt need to use insinuation in furlough orders of separate peace possibilities. Also possible that rumors in Spain and in Switzerland are simply part of German war of nerves against those countries. No other similar reports have recently come to attention of Legation.