No. 395 NAI DFA 19/50A

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

Berlin, 9 December 1936

There have been no very definite developments in the situation in Germany in the last weeks. The anti-Kommitern agreement between Germany and Japan has of course excited a large amount of comment in the foreign press, but here it is taken more or less as a matter of course that the powers which have been most threatened by Communist propaganda and are now ruled by Governments determined not to run any risks through false ideas of 'liberalism' should join together in such measures as they may consider necessary against the common enemy.

The question is of course frequently asked whether there are secret clauses of military mutual assistance against Soviet Russia, apart from the general mutual assistance against the Kommitern. The Japanese Ambassador in Berlin1 denies that any secret clauses exist - not that such a denial is of the slightest value. It seems however clear that Germany and Japan would undoubtedly assist each other in the event of one or the other being involved in a war against the Soviets, and that whether there is a definite agreement or merely an understanding to this effect the new agreement does not affect the question in one direction or the other. If it is asked why the agreement was made at all and why it was published at the present stage, the answer usually given is that the German Chancellor needed an external success for internal political reasons, to induce the German people to forget the butter shortage, etc., and that more or less the same considerations apply to Japan, where it is suggested that Communist propaganda is very active and needs to be opposed by every possible means.

It is apparently not thought probable that Italy will openly join the pact. Again, it is considered certain that in any event Italy's help against the Communist danger is assured and that formal adherence would not alter the real situation. The fact that Japan and Italy have implicitly recognized the conquest of Abyssinia and Manciukuo is practically of more importance than vague undertakings in formal agreements.

It is impossible to ascertain definitely here what number of German volunteers or amount of munitions has reached Spain. There were rumours here that 5000 had accompanied the Chargé d'Affaires, General Faupel, but for obvious reasons no confirmation is forthcoming. As however no formal denial of volunteers has been published by the Government, it is only reasonable to assume that the reports of Germans in the National Army in Spain which have appeared in the Foreign Press are more or less correct. At the same time it is pointed out with considerable force that when Communist volunteers from Russia and France were pouring into Spain the Non-Intervention Committee saw no reason to interfere, but that when rumours appear in the press that foreign soldiers are also helping the anti-Communist forces the Committee (i.e. England and France) immediately proposes to forbid the influx of volunteers - a proposal originally made by the German representative but rejected by the Committee when the volunteers were exclusively on the side of the Communist Government.

The German Press has so far been forbidden to refer in any way to the matrimonial vagaries of King Edward VIII, and the average German does not know that such a person as Mrs. Simpson exists. This is presumably due to the influence of Ribbentrop, who wishes by this demonstration of excessive tact to wipe out the bad impression created in England by his speech on arrival and that of Goering on the colonies. The Germans who read the foreign press naturally consider the enforced silence ridiculous.

I have been asked by colleagues what the attitude is of the Irish Government, as the English papers have mentioned practically nothing on the question. I have not been able to do more than reply that the King of England has been imposed by force on Ireland, and that therefore it is a matter of complete indifference who occupies the position, as questions of loyalty or sentiment do not arise.

[signed] C. Bewley

1 Viscount Kintomo Mushakoji, Imperial Japanese Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Germany.

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