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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa
(1937)

Germany,   pp. 319-405 PDF (32.6 MB)


Page 354


FOREIGN RELATIONS, 19 3 7, VOLUME II
to preface his remarks by a brief statement of the background, which
was to the effect that the claims situation actually had its origin with
the Treaty of Peace; that it had been composed of a German Commis-
sioner, an American Commissioner, and a Presiding Commissioner
who had all along been an American national; that his Government
felt it had been very fair in the whole claims situation, particularly
in having the Commission composed of two Americans and one Ger-
man. He thought that the claims work should have been closed in
March 1930, prior to which time there had been a decision against
the sabotage claimants, and that the prolongation of the life of the
Commission for the past seven years has resulted from the petition of
the sabotage claimants for a new hearing; he thought that the weak-
ness of the contentions of the sabotage claimants was reflected in their
efforts to effect a compromise settlement; that if they were certain of
their ground they would not be interested in making a compromise
settlement. He also stated, with the concurrence of Dr. Paulig, that in
February and March Dr. Paulig had suggested that the two opposing
groups should endeavor to arrive at a satisfactory arrangement, but
that since nothing had come of that within a reasonable time the
German Government had decided that the cases should proceed before
the Commission in the regular way and thereupon the German Am-
bassador sent to the Department the note of April 5, 1937. Dr. Paulig
stated that the Commission was to meet on June 14 to resume con-
sideration of the cases, and that on that date steps would be taken to
have certain witnesses appear before the Commission. The Ambassa-
dor remarked that the German Foreign Office expected Mr. Bonynge
and Mr. Martin to come to Berlin for a discussion of the claims but
that they did not see fit to do so. He thought that any compromise
settlement of the sabotage claims would be interpreted as an admis-
sion on the part of Germany of guilt regardless of the phraseology
employed. Finally he stated that while he could not speak for his
Government he felt that there would be no chance of giving effect to
the Munich settlement unless it were upon a definite understanding
that the payments made from the present fund in the German special
deposit account would terminate Germany's liability toward the
claimants.
  As to the failure of the American Agent to go to Berlin, Mr.
Hackworth explained that this was due to no decision on the part of
the Agent or his counsel but rather to the fact that the German
negotiators had suggested that they should have their discussions in
Munich in order to avoid possible publicity that might attend such a
meeting in Berlin. The Ambassador stated that they were not making
any special point of that. He thought that there should be a definite
decision on the question whether Germany's liability to the claimants
354


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