Messersmith, G.S., Berlin. Despatch No. 1370 to Secretary of State [Cordell Hull], Washington.

Date
1933-06-19
Authors
Messersmith, George S. (George Strausser), 1883-1960.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Abstract
Description
Observations on political and economic situation in Germany; before coming into power leaders made promises to their followers which they cannot keep; leaders, under influence of responsibility, have become more moderate, but are being pressured by the intermediate leaders and the masses, who remain extremely radical; after March 5 Government placed Komissare in all departments and institutions, public and private, and in many of the major industries; local leaders, copying their superiors, placed Komissare in all businesses, large or small; young men of no ability or business experience, were often placed in charge of business establishments, with power to dismiss experienced employees and hire Party adherents who were often incompetent; primary leaders realized this practice was endangering Germany's economy and ordered it stopped, but it has not completely stopped; two managing directors of Saxon Public Works, both faithful and intelligent administrators, dismissed and replaced by two Komissare who had no knowledge of the business; inquiry into banking structure of country announced in today's newspaper; object obviously two-fold - to prepare way for Government takeover, and to uncover transactions which may give government excuse for confiscating property; Goebbels, in recent speech, said what has been done recently is only an overture to what will be done; difference of opinion has developed between Hitler and Goering on one side and Goebbels on the other; Goebbels has necessarily given in to the more moderate dictates of Hitler and Goering but he may be biding his time until he can consolidate his position; Goebbels ambitious, intelligent, and cunning, but completely unscrupulous and coldblooded; unemployment serious; industry cannot absorb additional labor under existing conditions; Chambers of Commerce, official organizations in Germany, being rapidly coordinated by National Socialist Party; formerly governed by responsible members of industrial and financial world, Chambers have been reorganized and placed under control of representatives of the Party; object of coordination is to remove opposition to any economic project of the Party; Party plans to finance itself by direct levy on business of 5 percent of total payroll; press continues to be servile; the few that have expressed any criticism of Government have been suppressed; Nazis attack Rotary Club because of its international character and because it admits Jews; Party leaders informed clubs that no member of a Rotary Club could be a member of the National Socialist Party; arrest of former government officials continues; Kampfbund des gewerblichen Mittelstandes determined to eliminate department stores; restaurant interests clamoring for law that would close restaurants and refreshment counters in department stores; other small businesses such as stationers, milliners, tailors will make similar demands; ruin of department stores will mean ruin also for scores of manufacturers who have been supplying them; Kampfbund has been compelled by primary leaders of Party to cease its discriminatory actions against foreign owned German businesses; to stimulate certain sections of industry, section II of law of June 1 provides that if replacement materials of such things as office supplies or agricultural equipment are purchased, and if the replacement is manufactured in Germany, the purchaser is relieved of taxation on the amount paid for the new equipment; this law conflicts with Article VIII of Treaty of Friendship, which treats of imported merchandise; Embassy is awaiting Department's instructions before making representations to Foreign Office; Germany in no position to speak in international conferences on economic or financial subjects; her own policy too uncertain and undeveloped, but headed in radical directions.
Keywords
Messersmith, George S. (George Strausser), 1883-1960.
Citation