No. 353 NAI DFA 19/50A

Confidential report from Charles Bewley to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)

Berlin, 18 August 1936

It has been impossible to find time for the writing of any general report during the Olympic Games, as the number of official invitations has been very great and every moment of my time has been occupied. However, as far as Germany is concerned, there have been no political events calling for any particular comment.

The Games themselves have been an enormous triumph, and are counted on as likely to dispel many of the false impressions about Germany which have been spread by enemies of the régime, whether Aryan or other. In my opinion this calculation is largely correct, as may be inferred from the fact that anonymous letters were sent to the various foreign missions asking them to boycott the Games. The comparison has also been made, and not only by Germans, between the German policy of not allowing Jews to compete and the American policy of winning events through coloured competitors and inviting only the white competitors to official American receptions.

The most remarkable feature throughout the programme was the enthusiastic applause given to Austria and France, and the chilly silence with which England and Poland were received. Popular feeling is not an indication in any way of the policy of the Government, but it has a certain importance; and obviously the continuous efforts of both the German and the Polish authorities to broaden the alliance of convenience between the two countries into an entente cordiale have had very little success with the one people or the other.

As regards the feeling towards England, it was always stronger among the upper classes then the people, and at present the S.A. and Party, and the classes from which they are mainly recruited, are those most in favour of Italy and consequently opposed to closer relations with England. The members of the régime are more or less divided on the subject, but the Press, largely under the influence of Dr Goebbels, has almost unanimously taken the Italian side. The athletic performances of the various English teams sent here have done nothing to enhance English prestige: in some cases their inefficiency bordered on the ridiculous.

It is extremely regrettable from a national point of view that no Irish team was present and that no statement has appeared in the German, or so far as I am aware in any other, press giving an explanation of their absence. The Olympic Committee and persons in authority generally know of course the circumstances, but the general public, which is quite aware of the excellence of the Irish riding team, is either under the impression that the Irish Government has some quarrel with Germany and that Ireland like Lithuania and Russia is absent for political reasons, or that Ireland is represented by the British team.

Opinion here is somewhat divided on the probable effect of Ribbentrop's appointment as ambassador to London. He was the most pro-English of Hitler's counsellors, and had very great influence with the Führer. His appointment is believed by some to betoken a special effort to bring about better relations with England; others take the view that the loss of close personal contact with Hitler will involve a diminution of Ribbentrop's influence and a growth of the pro-Italian party. There can be no doubt as to the efforts being made by Italy to ensure the friendship of Germany: not only the Crown Prince but numerous personalities of the Fascist régime were guests at the Games, whereas English Government circles were represented only by Sir Robert Vansittart.

In spite of the concentration of energies on the Games, there is very great preoccupation here with the progress of Communism in Spain and France, and its revolutionary activities in other countries. I have not been able to ascertain whether in fact German aeroplanes have been delivered to the Burgos Government, but there is of course no doubt as to the sympathies not only of the German Government but of the people here. The accounts of the activities in Madrid and Barcelona and elsewhere have united the people round Hitler as their saviour from Communism, and I think it would be correct to say that his popularity is greater then it has ever been. I have heard in confidence that he is only waiting for the evacuation of the last German subject in Spain to proclaim his formal recognition of the Burgos Government.

The semi-official Deutsche Diplomatisch-politische Korrespondenz has devoted several numbers to complaints of the munitions and aeroplanes delivered by France to the Communists in Spain, to the volunteers from France, to the collections made in France and Russia for the same end, and to the propaganda by Soviet Russia. It also comments strongly on the short- sighted policy of England in giving its moral support through the Press and otherwise to the Communist forces, and points out with considerable justice that the molestation of a Jew or the imprisonment of a priest in Germany is apparently considered a greater crime than the wholesale massacres which are taking place in Spain.

It would appear to me, owing to the force of circumstances and in particular of the policy in France and England, the division of Europe into an anti-Communist and a liberal pro-Communist part is becoming inevitable. Judging from the last sentence in the report sent me from the Minister to the Holy See,1 the former would enjoy at least the partial support of the Vatican.

[signed] C. Bewley

1 W.J.B. Macaulay.

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