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THE visit I paid yesterday morning to Herr von Weizsäcker on his return from leave afforded me the opportunity to discuss with the State Secretary various political matters of a general character.
Baron von Weizsäcker is an extremely courteous, but also, as it seemed to me, a very cautious man, proceeding with the utmost care whenever he ventures off the beaten track.
Stressing the importance of Anglo-German relations for the promotion of a European détente, as well as for the building up of Franco-German cooperation, I asked the State Secretary how he explained the tension now prevailing between England and Germany. Was it merely a matter of the Press, as Dr. Goebbels had told me?
"Dr. Goebbels," he answered, "is thinking in professional terms when he gives this explanation. As a matter of fact, it is largely true. There is, in my opinion, no serious cause of misunderstanding between the two countries. It is a question of method rather than of fundamental differences."
With regard to the international guarantee envisaged in favour of Czechoslovakia, Baron von Weizsäcker was reticent. When I reminded him that in Paris Herr von Ribbentrop had expressed his intention of re-examining the question, and asked whether there were any new developments, he answered in the negative. "Could not this matter," he asked with a smile, "be forgotten? Since Germany's predominance in that area is a fact, would not the guarantee of the Reich be sufficient?" I did not fail to remark that obligations entered into cannot be forgotten, and placed the matter in its true light. But I received the impression that my interlocutor had already made up his mind.
"Besides," he concluded, "it would be for Czechoslovakia to claim that guarantee. In any case we are in no hurry to settle this question, and M. Chvalkovsky is not coming to Berlin until after the holidays."
Actually, the visit of the Czechoslovak Foreign Minister has already been postponed twice.
As my conversation with the State Secretary was no more than an exchange of personal views in the course of a courtesy visit I think that it would not be suitable to take official cognizance of it. Nevertheless, I thought it my duty to report his pronouncement on the last question to Your Excellency, as it seems to me to confirm the misgivings felt in Prague concerning the conditions that the Reich might intend to attach to the granting of its guarantee.
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