Message from the Charge D'affaires in Great Britain
to the Foreign Ministry:
In its comments on Germany's armament policy and in
particular the announcement of German submarine construction, the Sunday
press repeated the purely sensational treatment of the previous day.
The principal papers, the Observer and the Sunday Times, tacked on to
the announcement extremely hostile comments on Germany, going in fact
so far as to threaten cancellation of the naval conversations. MacDonald's
article was overshadowed by this, and now appeared mainly as a skirmish
in the general campaign against Germany's armaments policy.
Today's press is by contrast certainly less agitated,
particularly with regard to submarine and naval questions. The original
announcement on this subject was magnified, probably not without Foreign
Office inspiration, into a first-rate political sensation; the line
taken was to ascribe to Germany a further unilateral breach of the Versailles
Treaty and so to create a basis for a further large-scale political
campaign against Germany. This line was also apparent in the report
sent to you by the Naval Attaché (Mar. No. 295 of April 27) about
the outcome of the press conference at the Foreign Office. By contrast,
a calmer attitude has prevailed over the weekend; this is expressed
today by the whole press in the form of statements (combined with more
or less severe criticism of German tactical procedure) that the German
action over submarines can hardly cause any surprise after all that
has happened and therefore does not represent any new development of
fundamental political importance. There is an interesting reference
in some papers to the effect of German naval rearmament on the forthcoming
general naval negotiations regarding the expiry of the Washington Agreement.
The Times, as usual, is very reserved and refrains from a leader, but
allows some criticism to appear in editorial comment, while the Berlin
correspondent tries to achieve a calming effect in a factual message.
The general effect is that in today's press there
is little enthusiasm for the attempt by certain circles to exploit the
submarine question in order to alert British public opinion on a grand
scale; on the other hand, the campaign already mentioned, designed to
treat the rearmament question sensationally with a slant against Germany
as a prelude to the foreign affairs debate of May 2, continues unchanged.
Certified: Treger (Consular Secretary)
Source: "Documents on German Foreign Policy,"
Vol. IV, p. 93.