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“Das Kind”—Lord D'Abernon and the Origins of the Locarno Pact*

  • F. G. Stambrook (a1)

In acknowledging the congratulations of Lord D'Abernon, British Ambassador to Germany, upon the successful outcome of the Locarno negotiations, the British Foreign Secretary, Austen Chamberlain, wrote: “… we have owed much to your action and influence in Berlin—exactly how much I want some day to learn. I have been discreet in asking no questions about the origins of Stresemann's initiative.” Lord D'Abernon has long been recognized as the god-parent of the 1925 reciprocal security pact between Germany, France, and Belgium, guaranteed by Britain and Italy, which appeared to have stabilized the West European status quo. He and Carl von Schubert, the State Secretary of the German Foreign Ministry, were in the habit of referring to it in its initial stages as “das Kind,” and the Ambassador watched over its development with tender care. This paper examines D'Abernon's role in the drafting of the proposals which were to lead to the West European security pact.

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1. Chamberlain to D'Abernon, Nov. 11, 1925, Birmingham University Library, Austen Chamberlain papers, Box 52, No. 302 (hereinafter cited as Birm. Univ. Lib., AC 52/302). I am grateful to the Librarian of Birmingham University for permission to quote from these papers.

2. For the text of the Treaty of Mutual Guarantee between Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, and Italy, initialled at Locarno on Oct. 16, 1925, and signed in London on Dec. I, 1925, see Royal Institute of International Affairs, Survey of International Affairs, 1925, II (London, 1928), 440–42.

3. Wolfers, A., Britain and France between Two Wars (New York, 1966), p. 207.

4. Ibid., pp. 206–10; Northedge, F. S., The Troubled Giant: Britain among the Great Powers, 1916–1939 (London, 1966), pp. 160–91; “Memorandum on French Security,” prepared by the Central Department of the Foreign Office, July 8, 1924, Public Record Office, London (hereinafter cited as P.R.O.), F.O. 371/9818.

5. See Survey of International Affairs, 1924 (London, 1926), pp. 323–84.

6. Herriot to MacDonald, Aug. II, 1924, with enclosure, P.R.O., F.O. 371/9819.

7. Northedge, , op. cit., pp. 224–31.

8. For the Geneva Protocol and its rejection see Survey of International Affairs, 1924, pp. 164, and 1925, II, 1–24; see also Northedge, , op. cit., pp. 239–47.

9. Memorandum of Nov. 4, 1924, and Chamberlain's covering note of Nov. 9, P.R.O., F.O. 371/9820.

10. Minutes of the 190th Meeting of the Committee of Imperial Defence, Dec. 4, 1924, pp. 6–7, P.R.O., Cab. 2/4.

11. Cf. Sir Samuel Hoare's assertion at the 196th Meeting of the Committee of Imperial Defence, Feb. 19, 1925, p. I, P.R.O., Cab. 2/4.

12. The Observer, Dec. 7, 1924; Burnham, Lord, proprietor of the Daily Telegraph, to Chamberlain, Nov. 20, 1924, and Repington to Chamberlain, Dec. 1, 1924, Birm. Univ. Lib., AC 51/32 and 208.

13. Cf. German Embassy in Rome to German Foreign Ministry, tels. Nos. 374 and 378 of Dec. 10 and 11, 1924, photostats of captured German Foreign Ministry archives, currently located in the Foreign Office Library, London, Serial L784, Frames L229541– 43 (hereinafter cited as GFM, L784 /L229541–43).

14. Cf. Documents on British Foreign Policy, Series IA, I (London, 1966), No. I; the Naval Staff Memorandum of Dec. 8, 1924, Chamberlain's minute of Jan. 4, 1925, and Harold Nicolson's memorandum of Feb. 20, 1925, P.R.O., F.O. 371/9820, 11064, and 10727 respectively; also Sir Petrie, C., The Life and Letters of the Rt. Hon. Sir Austen Chamberlain, II (London, 1940), 248–66.

15. D'Abernon, Lord, An Ambassador of Peace (London, 19291930), III, 21 (the American edition, The Diary of an Ambassador, New York, 19301931, has different pagination). Chamberlain, upon publication of this volume, acknowledged the essential accuracy of this view, though he wrote that while working on a defensive alliance with France “I hoped eventually (but I must admit only eventually) to turn [it] into a reciprocal agreement with Germany. I had…quite deliberately set myself to win back French confidence as an essential step in our common reconciliation with Germany.” Chamberlain to D'Abernon, Sept. 11, 1930, Birm. Univ. Lib., AC 39/2/35. Cf. also Chamberlain's minute of Jan. 4, 1925, cited in note 14 above.

16. Diary, D'Abernon's, Dec. 25, 1923, British Museum, D'Abernon papers (hereinafter cited as BM), Add. Mss. 48959; cf. An Ambassador, II, 289. For D'Abernon's views on Germany's clumsy diplomacy see also Diary, Aug. 8, 1922 (BM, Add. Mss. 48957), Jan. 4, 1923 and May 2, 1923 (BM, Add. Mss. 48959), and An Ambassador, II, 77–78 and 205–06. For biographical data on D'Abernon see Dictionary of National Biography, 1941–50 (London, 1959), pp. 908–10; for a sketch of his personality see Vansittart, Lord, The Mist Procession (London, 1958), p. 253.

17. Diary, May 15, 1923, BM, Add. Mss. 48959; An Ambassador, II, 211–12.

18. An Ambassador, I, Introductory Survey, passim, and II, 287–88; cf. the slightly different version in Diary, Dec. 25, 1923, BM, Add. Mss. 48959.

19. D'Abernon to Curzon, May 4, 1923, ibid.; cf. Diary, Aug. 8, 1922, BM, Add. Mss. 48957.

20. Diary, Feb. 14, 1922, ibid.; cf. An Ambassador, I, 259–60.

21. Memorandum by D'Abernon, Oct. 4, 1923, prepared for the 1923 Imperial Conference, BM, Add. Mss. 48927; cf. An Ambassador, II, 263–65.

22. For D'Abernon's, views on German-Russian relations see inter alia Diary, Nov. 27, 1922, BM, Add. Mss. 48958;An Ambassador, II, 134–35; and D'Abernon to Chamberlain, despatch 781 of Nov. 8, 1924, BM, Add. Mss. 48927.

23. “Notes on the question of Security” dated Nov. 1924 and annotated ”sent Jan. 1925,” ibid.; cf. also D'Abernon to Sir J. Headlam Morley (Historical Adviser to the Foreign Office), Nov. 13, 1924, Ibid., and Diary, Dec. 25, 1923, BM, Add. Mss. 48959, also An Ambassador, II, 288.

24. Draft despatch dated Dec. 6, 1923, BM, Add. Mss. 48927.

25. D'Abernon to King George V, Nov. 15, 1925, BM, Add. Mss. 48922. Cf. D'Abernon to Curzon, despatch 323 of May 10, 1923, BM, Add. Mss. 48926, and draft despatch of Dec. 6, 1923, BM, Add. Mss. 48927.

26. D'Abernon to Sir Eyre Crowe, Mar. II, 1923, BM, Add. Mss. 48926, and memorandum by D'Abernon of Dec. 29, 1924, BM, Add. Mss. 48928. For the Cuno proposal see Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1922, II (Washington, 1938), 203–11, and Zimmermann, L., Deutsche Aussenpolitik in der Ära der Weimarer Republik (Göttingen, 1958), pp. 138–42.

27. D'Abernon to MacDonald, tel. No. 49 of Feb. 5, 1924, P.R.O., F.O. 371/9818.

28. See Schubert's memorandum of Feb. 5 on this conversation, GFM 2368/490734–37, and the document quoted at n. 33 below.

29. Cf. Memorandum by H. C. F. Finlayson of Feb. 10, 1924, memorandum by G. C. Knox of Feb. 11, also another draft by Knox of Apr. 9, 1924, all in BM, Add. Mss. 48927.

30. D'Abernon to MacDonald, despatch 105 of Feb. II, 1924, P.R.O., F.O. 371/9801; BM, Add. Mss. 48927.

31. In his memorandum of Feb. 5, 1924 (see n.28 above), Schubert recorded that D'Abernon spoke with approval of the Cuno proposal, and that the Ambassador thought a Franco-German agreement of the sort he had indicated would be much better than guarantee pacts, of which he held no high opinion.

32. The absence of a memorandum by Stresemann is curious, for he was usually assiduous in his preparation of memoranda, and the German Foreign Ministry archives do not have large gaps for this period. Perhaps I have inadvertently missed a document among the vast bulk of the German records. Meanwhile, and particularly in view of his lengthy conversation on Feb. II, 1924, with Schubert, there exists some doubt in my mind whether D'Abernon really did have the talk with Stresemann which he reported.

33. “Memorandum on Security and the League of Nations,” GFM, 2368/490752–57.

34. Memorandum by Schubert, Feb. 11, 1924, GFM, 2368/490748–51. D'Abernon transmitted the revised version of the German memorandum to London under cover of an unnumbered despatch of Feb. 19 as notes summarizing the present views of the German Government on the question of security and the League of Nations, P.R.O., F.O. 371/9818. The document forwarded by D'Abernon was not identical with the Aide-Mémoire communicated by the German Embassy in London to the Foreign Office on Feb. II, though the latter incorporated some portions of the former, P.R.O., Ibid. The Foreign Office, while recognizing the significance of the German willingness to provide France with guarantees as long as these did not impair German sovereignty, held the view that reparations must be settled before the question of security could be tackled, cf. minutes on D'Abernon's despatch of Feb. 19, ibid.

35. Diary extract of Mar. 4, 1924, BM, Add. Mss. 48927.

36. Cf. D'Abernon to MacDonald, despatch 264 of Apr. 4 and tel. No. 244 of June 5, 1924, P.R.O., F.O. 371/9818; D'Abernon to MacDonald, despatch 470 of June 16, BM, Add. Mss. 48927; Sir M. Hankey to D'Abernon, May 23, 1924, ibid., and An Ambassador, II, 101 (Sept. 14, 1924). A Foreign Office memorandum, C 11427 of July 7, 1924, expressed doubts as to whether any scheme for the neutralization of the Rhineland would be of much value to France, P.R.O., F.O. 371/9818.

37. Undated “Notes on the War Office Memorandum of Mar. 28, 1924,” BM, Add. Mss. 48927; D'Abernon to Chamberlain, despatch 781 of Nov. 8, 1924, ibid., and D'Abernon's memorandum of Dec. 29, 1924, BM, Add. Mss. 48928.

38. The evacuation by Allied troops of the northernmost of the three zones into which the occupied Rhineland was divided might take place on Jan. 10, 1925, if Germany were found to have complied faithfully with the provisions of the peace treaty.

39. D'Abernon to Chamberlain, despatch 781 of Nov. 8, 1924, BM, Add. Mss. 48927; cf. D'Abernon to MacDonald, tel. No. 399 of Sept. 7, 1924, draft despatch (not sent) of Nov. 12, Ibid., and an unsigned memorandum by Schubert of Nov. 13, 1924, GFM, 4504/E122159–63.

40. Unsigned note, evidently by D'Abernon, of Aug. II, 1924 (BM, Add. Mss. 48927) on a General Staff Memorandum of June 24 (ibid.); cf. also this memorandum and the undated “Notes” cited in n. 37 above.

41. Cf. the unsigned memoranda (by Schubert) of Nov. 11, 13, and 24, 1924, the last recording a conversation in London with D'Abernon and Lampson of the Central Department of the Foreign Office, GFM, 4504/E122186–91, E122159–63, E122116–20; also Schubert's tel. to GFM of Nov. 24 and his memorandum of Dec. 22, GFM, 9517/H282217–19 and 4504/E122023–25. D'Abernon was seeking a compromise whereby the Cologne zone might be evacuated later in 1925 after Germany had rectified some of her defaults with respect to disarmament.

42. D'Abernon to Chamberlain, despatch 781 of Nov. 8, 1924, BM, Add. Mss. 48927.

43. “Notes on the question of Security,” see n. 23 above.

44. D'Abernon to Lady D'Abernon, undated (Nov. 1924) and Dec. 11, 1924, BM, Add. Mss. 48936; D'Abernon to Sir G. Grahame, Dec. 10 and 24, 1924, BM, Add. Mss. 48928; An Ambassador, III, 115–17.

45. D'Abernon to Sir J. Headlam Morley, Nov. 13, 1924, BM, Add. Mss. 48927.

46. D'Abernon to Grahame, Dec. 10, 1924, BM, Add. Mss. 48928; cf. also Morley, Headlam to D'Abernon, , Nov. 20, BM, Add. Mss. 48927; D'Abernon to Grahame, Dec. 24, 1924, and Grahame to D'Abernon, Jan. 1, 1925, BM, Add. Mss. 48928; and also at n. 15 above.

47. Grahame to D'Abernon, Dec. 18, 1924, BM, Add. Mss. 48928.

48. Memorandum by Schubert, Dec. 22, 1924, GFM, 4504/E122023–25.

49. D'Abernon wrote to Grahame on Dec. 24 (BM, Add. Mss. 48928) that he would cut his memorandum—the “Notes on the question of Security”—into two, confining the first part to showing how dissimilar the 1924 situation was to that of 1914. See also n. 23 above.

50. Memorandum by Schubert, Dec. 29, 1924, GFM, 4509/E124822–23. D'Abernon evidently wanted further information on France's involvement in East European affairs in order to show the unwisdom of a British engagement to France.

51. Cf. n. 31 above.

52. Cf. An Ambassador, III, 74, 87–88, 101; also n. 34 above, Stresemann's circular despatch IIbR 10037 of Nov. 15, 1924, to sundry European missions (GFM, 9518/H282540–45; a more legible copy is 4504/E122145–48), and Spenz, J., Die diplomatische Vorgeschichte des Beitritts Deutschlands zum Völkerbund, 1924–1926 (Göttingen, 1966), pp. 1454.

53. For the foregoing see Schubert's memorandum of Feb. 11, 1924, and the “unofficial” memorandum then handed to D'Abernon (notes 33 and 34 above); Spenz, loc. cit., Stresemann's circular of Nov. 15 (n. 52 above), and GFM, 4504/E122216–27; 2368/491028–31; 9517/H281935–37 9518/H282517–18; K1885/ K474497–501; K2337 / K664759–77 and K664792–93 and L234 /L067674–735.

54. Stresemann's circular of Nov. 15, 1924 (see n. 52 above).

55. What follows is not intended as a comprehensive discussion of German policy. Its purpose is merely to put D'Abernon's suggestion of Dec. 29, 1924, into its proper context. On German-Russian relations and their connection with Germany's policies in Western Europe see Breuning's, Eleanor unpublished Oxford D. Phil. thesis, “Germany between East and West, 1921–1926,” especially chapter VI. Dr. Breuning's study is the most comprehensive available examination of a complicated subject.

56. No record was usually kept of the regular conferences of the departmental heads with the State Secretary and the Foreign Minister. However, it is known that the secret files of the Legal Department of the GFM were deliberately destroyed in accordance with instructions in the later stages of World War II. As the Director of the Legal Department, Friedrich Gaus, was closely involved in German studies of the security question, their destruction may have deprived the student of this issue of valuable material.

57. Cf. Spenz, , op. cit., pp. 3639 and 54–55.

58. Memorandum by Referat Völkerbund, Vbd. 2224 of Nov. 1924, and Sthamer, London, to GFM, report A 3390 of Nov. 13 (GFM, K2337/K664759–77 and K664785–86); Hoesch, Paris, to GFM, tel. No. 639 of Oct. 31 and report A 4517 of Nov. 6, 1924 (GFM, K1885/K474497–501).

59. E.g., Hoesch to GFM, tel. No. 639 (see n. 58); Schubert's memorandum of Nov. 24 (see n. 41); Sthamer to GFM, tel. No. 741 of Dec. (GFM, 9518/H282551–52); and Hoesch to Schubert, Dec 8 (excerpt, GFM, 4504 /E122070–75).

60. Rome Embassy tels. Nos. 374 and 378 of Dec. 10 and 11 (see n. 13), and Schubert to Rauscher, Warsaw, Dec. 15 (GFM, K2337/K664819–21). Spenz, op. cit., pp. 52–53, appears to ignore the contents of Schubert's letter.

61. Stresemann's circular of Nov. 15 (see n. 52 above).

62. State Secretary Maltzan wrote that the reparations agreement rested on a “certain degree of mutual trust which signified, at least experimentally, a change in the previous line of German policy vis-à-vis France, having previously assumed the absolute hostility and implacability” of the latter; Maltzan to Minister for Occupied Territories, Sept. 4, 1924 (GFM, L1759/L513046–49).

63. Stresemann to London, Paris, Rome, and Brussels, telegrams of Dec. 28, 1924 (GFM, 9518/H282644–49); cf. also his speech to the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Reichsrat on Jan. 3, 1925 (GFM, 4504/E121873–90), a translation of which appears in Sutton, E. (ed.), Gustav Stresemann, His Diaries, Letters and Papers, II (New York, 1937), 1223.

64. The argument that Britain was to “be prised loose from its unilateral connection with France” was much used throughout 1925 to justify the security pact to its critics within Germany. The quotation here comes from the record of the Cabinet meeting of Sept. 24, 1925 (Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, Reichskanzlei, Kabinetts-protokolle, vol. 57, filmed as GFM, 3543/D765953–65).

65. GFM to various diplomatic missions and to the Reichswehrministerium, Circular Vbd. 181 of Feb. 13, 1924 (GFM, L234/L067674–85). See also Salewski, M., Entwaffnung und Militärkontrolle in Deutschland 1919–1927 (Munich, 1966), pp. 268–70.

66. Gaus to Senior Counsellor Bülow, Jan. 12, 1925 (GFM, K2096/K569641–45); Bülow was at this time visiting London. On the éléments stables see also the memoranda by Bülow of Sept. 29 and by Gaus on Nov. 20, and Memorandum Vbd. 2628 of Dec. 13, 1924 (GFM, L234/L067724–26, L067730–35 and L067740–42), and Spenz, op. cit., pp. 14, 30–31, and 53–54.

67. D'Abernon's contact at this time appears to have been entirely with Schubert. In part this was due to Stresemann's preoccupation with the lengthy process of Cabinet building; cf. Turner, H. A., Stresemann and the Politics of the Weimar Republic (Princeton, 1963), pp. 180–84, and Thimme, R., Stresemann und die deutsche Volkspartei, 1923–25 (Lübeck and Hamburg, 1961), pp. 93106. But D'Abernon also feared that relations between himself and the Foreign Minister were strained as a result of some articles that had appeared in the British and American press; the Ambassador thought that Stresemann believed he had inspired these. It was not until Jan. 18 that D'Abernon was able to make his explanations to Stresemann (memorandum by Stresemann, Jan. 18, 1925, GFM, 2368/491171–73; cf. Sutton, II, 24–26), though he had earlier made his protestation of innocence to Schubert (memorandum by Schubert, Jan. 5, 1925, GFM, 4504/E122354–56). A certain coolness nevertheless appears to have persisted: a few weeks later D'Abernon wrote “While I have great confidence in Schubert, I have rather less confidence in the completeness of Stresemann's sincerity”; D'Abernon to Chamberlain, Feb. 21, 1925, Birm. Univ. Lib., AC 52 /262.

68. Stresemann to Brockdorff–Rantzau, despatch RM 574 of Mar. 19, 1925, GFM, 4562/E155068–90.

69. Cf. Breuning, op. cit., passim, and Helbig, H., Die Träger der Rapallo-Politik (Göttingen, 1958), pp. 136–40, 171–76, and 186–90.

70. Bülow to Brockdorff-Rantzau, Dec. 31, 1924, GFM, K1908/K483443–47. B. W. von Bülow, a nephew of the former Imperial Chancellor and head of the League of Nations Section, was already obviously the rising star within the German Foreign Ministry.

71. Gaus to Bülow, Jan. 12, 1925, see n. 66 above; Gaus mentioned that the conversation had taken place at Herr Horstmann's (who was an official of Department III of the Foreign Ministry).

72. Stresemann to Paris, tel. No. 48 of Jan. 15, 1925, GFM, 3123/642046–51. For German suspicions that Britain was seeking a solution of the security problem at Germany's cost and without British involvement, see ibid., and Schubert to Sthamer, despatch RM 101 of Jan. 19, GFM, K2096/K569648–54.

73. Memorandum by Schubert, Jan. 14, 1925, GFM, 4509/E124805–809; the brief for Schubert, with handwritten emendations by Gaus, is at E124810–12. Schubert made the arrangements for this meeting by telephone on the previous day (see his memorandum of Jan. 13, GFM, 4509/E124814). This was evidently the first mention between them of D'Abernon's suggestion of Dec. 29, though they had had several talks in the meantime.

74. For a translation of the memorandum handed to D'Abernon on Jan. 20 see An Ambassador, III, 276–79. It is analagous to but not identical with the German memorandum communicated in Paris on Feb. 9, for the text of which see Cmd. 2435, Papers respecting the Proposals for a Pact of Security, No. 1.

75. Memorandum by Schubert, Jan. 14, see n. 73 above; cf. An Ambassador, III, 121. D 'Abernon's view of Chamberlain's likely opinion was without foundation. In fact the Committee of Imperial Defence's sub-committee on the Geneva Protocol was about to recommend an Anglo-French Treaty; Sir Eyre Crowe, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, was a leading member of this sub-committee. Cf. Sir M. Hankey to Chamberlain, Jan. 24 and 27, 1925, Birm. Univ. Lib., AC 52 /452 and 453/4; also Chamberlain to D'Abernon, Sept. 11, 1930 (see n. 15 above), and Nicolson's memorandum of Feb. 20, 1925, with Chamberlain's covering note of Feb. 19 [sic], P.R.O., F.O. 371/10727. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that D'Abernon was being deliberately mendacious. See also n. 81 below.

76. Stresemann to Hoesch, tel. No. 48 of Jan. 15 (see n. 72 above); Schubert to Dufour, London, Jan. 25, GFM, 4567/E165308–II; Schubert to London, tel. No. 38 of Jan. 27, GFM, 3123/642125–26.

77. Memoranda by Schubert, Jan. 20, 1925, GFM, 4509/E122770–79.

78. Stresemann to Hoesch, tel. No.48 of Jan. 15 (see n. 72 above); Hoesch to GFM, tel. No. 30 of Jan. 16, and Dufour, Counsellor of Embassy, London, to Schubert, Jan. 15, GFM, 4509/E124794–98 and E124791–93. Dufour was commenting on Gaus's letter to Bülow, for which see n. 66 above.

79. Memorandum by Schubert, Jan. 19, GFM, 4509/E124787. See also Turner, op. cit., pp. 205–07, and Luther, H., Politiker ohne Partei (Stuttgart, 1960), pp. 356–60.

80. Schubert to Dufour, Jan. 19, 1925, GFM, 4567/E165481–83.

81. Memorandum by Schubert, Jan. 20, GFM, 4509/E124773–79. On this occasion D'Abernon told Schubert that as a result of a recent conversation with the American Ambassador in Berlin, Alanson B. Houghton, he had come to the conclusion that the U.S.A. was unlikely to accept the role for which the Cuno plan cast her. Houghton later told Schubert that D'Abernon had spoken with him about the Cuno plan on New Year's Day (memorandum by Schubert, Jan. 28, 1925, GFM, 4509/E124693–97), yet on Jan. 14 D'Abernon had still maintained to the State Secretary that the U. S. A. would favor the Cuno proposal (see Schubert's memorandum of Jan. 14 cited in n. 73 above). On German policy towards Poland see also Gasiorowski, Z. J., “Stresemann and Poland before Locarno,” Journal of Central European Affairs, XVIII (1958), 2547.

82. Memorandum by Schubert, Jan. 20, 1925, GFM, 4509/E124770–72.

83. Schubert to Sthamer, despatch RM 101 of Jan. 19, see n. 72 above.

84. Memorandum by Schubert, Jan. 13, GFM, 4504/E122307–309.

85. Memorandum by Schubert, Jan. 23, GFM, 4509/E124741–45.

86. Schubert to Hoesch, despatch RM 101 II of Jan. 21, GFM, 4509/E124765–69; Hoesch reported his resultant talk with Painlevè, President of the Chamber of Deputies, in tel. No. 42 of Jan. 24, GFM, 4509/E124726–29.

87. D'Abernon to Chamberlain, despatch 49 of Jan. 20, P.R.O., F.O. 371/10726.

88. D'Abernon to Chamberlain, letter of Jan. 21, and despatch 53 of Jan. 21, BM, Add. Mss. 48928; cf. An Ambassador, III, 123–24.

89. D'Abernon to Chamberlain, tel. No. 39 of Jan. 23, BM, Add. Mss. 48928. There had been a further conversation that day between D'Abernon and Schubert.

90. Sthamer to GFM, tel. No. 39 of Jan 22, GFM, 3123/642073.

91. This attitude suggests that Chamberlain misunderstood the purpose, not of the German proposal, but of the approach to Britain. In practice, however, there might be little difference between negotiations and the tendering, in strict confidence, of advice as to how the Germans should proceed next. See also Johnson, D., “Austen Chamberlain and the Locarno Agreements,” University of Birmingham Historical Journal, VIII (19611962), 7172.

92. See notes 15 and 75 above.

93. Chamberlain's record at this stage reads: “His Excellency then asked if he might understand that I favoured the principle of the proposal. I told him that I hesitated to use those words, as I was not sure what he intended to include in them, but that I certainly did not exclude the idea at the proper time of an agreement between Germany and France or Germany and the Allies, giving a mutual guarantee to the situation established by the peace treaties on their common frontiers, and that the British Government would at all times be glad if it could help to promote a better state of feeling between Germany and France.” Chamberlain to D'Abernon, despatch 175 of Jan. 30, P.R.O., F.O. 371/10726; Sthamer to Schubert, tel. No. 52 of Jan. 30, GFM, 3123 /642141–43. There are some other interesting differences of emphasis between Chamberlain's and Sthamer's records, which may be due to the verbosity of the one and the telegraphese of the other. However, Sthamer was an elderly non-career diplomat, who may not have grasped all the nuances of Chamberlain's language.

94. Chamberlain to D'Abernon, Feb. 3, 1925, Birm. Univ. Lib., AC 52/256.

95. Schubert to Sthamer, Feb. 9, GFM, K2090/K566800–802.

96. Stresemann to Hoesch, despatch RM 197 of Feb. 5; Schubert to Hoesch, tel. No. 139 of Feb. 6; Forster (Paris) to GFM, tel. No. 94 of Jan. 9; Hoesch to GFM, tel. No. 121 of Feb. 20 (GFM, 3123/642174–85, 642189–91, 642258–64, 642321–25). For the German Note of Feb. 9 and the French reply of Feb. 20 see Cmd. 2435, Nos. 1 and 2. Chamberlain did tell the French Ambassador in London of the substance of his conversation with Sthamer, but did not tell him that the German proposal had been embodied in a written document; Chamberlain to D'Abernon, Feb. 3, 1925, see n. 94 above.

97. The decision was in effect taken at the Committee of Imperial Defence, cf. the Minutes of the 195th and 196th Meetings of the Committee, Feb. 13 and 19, 1925, P.R.O., Cab. 2/4. See also Johnson, op. cit., pp. 72–73.

98. Cf. the Cabinet meetings of Mar. 2 and 4, 1925, P.R.O., Cab. 23/49; also Chamberlain to D'Abernon, Sept. II and Oct. I, 1930, and to H. Nicolson, May 28, 1934, Birm. Univ. Lib., AC 39/2/35 and 38, and 40/6/33.

99. See the discussion in Grün, G., “Locarno, Idea and Reality,” International Affairs, XXXI (1995), 477–85.

100. Cf. Johnson, op. cit., pp. 70–77.

* I am grateful to the Sydney University Research Fund for assistance in the preparation of this paper, an earlier version of which was first read to Phi Alpha Theta at the University of Kentucky.

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