740.00112 European War 1939/11012: Telegram

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

3814. [Paragraph] 5 my 3532 (to London 919) June 2. Calling on Mr. Pilet-Golaz in connection with other matters I took occasion to [Page 731] express hope that reply might soon be forthcoming to our counterproposal and stressed the importance we attached to mutually satisfactory outcome of the negotiations in London as well as our interest in reduction Swiss contribution to enemy’s war effort. Mr. Pilet then repeated to me what he had already told my British colleague namely that our last proposal was unacceptable but that this did not mean that it might not be possible to improve the Swiss offer of March 23. The Swiss, he said, had an argument with the Germans now here for commercial negotiations namely that the latter had failed to live up to their undertakings. The Germans were behindhand in the delivery of coal by some 48,000 tons and they had also failed to fulfill their obligations in iron deliveries.

Mr. Pilet then told me that the Germans had taken the position that it was no use to carry on discussions as the proposals which had now been presented by the Swiss were entirely unacceptable to them. Schnurre,56 head of the German delegation, had called on Mr. Pilet on June 12 to state that he had asked for his accommodations to return to Berlin and that he expected to take leave of Dr. Hotz and his colleagues and depart before end of the week. Mr. Pilet was therefore awaiting developments to appraise German position. However, he pointed out that the Swiss could not afford to break with the Germans as, unlike Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Turkey, Switzerland was entirely surrounded and could be cut off at any moment at the will of the Germans.

Mr. Pilet also repeated what he had said to Mr. Norton, namely, that he hoped that no publicity would be given in the way of threats against Switzerland at this time as that would play into hands of Germans in that the Germans would then claim that Swiss attitude was being forced upon them by the Allies and would use this as a reason for breaking off negotiations. Mr. Pilet expressed hope that Swiss would be left to do their best with the Germans.

2. CA and CS are to meet informally with Hotz, Kohli57 and Homberger58 today at latter’s request and further report will be made immediately.

Repeated to London as 1023.

  1. Presumably Carl Schnurre.
  2. Robert Kohli of the Swiss Federal Political Department.
  3. H. Homberger of the Swiss Commission for Supervision of Imports and Exports.