Germany – U.S. proposal law a violation of Hague Convention (1-11-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (January 11, 1941)

Nazi paper cites America’s adherence to the Hague Convention
Berlin, Jan. 11 (UP) –
President Roosevelt’s full-powers-bill proposal for the repair of foreign warships in United States ports would be “a direct violation of the 13th Hague Convention of 1907, which the United States joined,” the newspaper Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung said today.

Although official comment on this angle was withheld in Washington, it was pointed out that, in the United States view, the Axis powers long since have ignored international law and have no claim to invoke its protection now.

The Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung comment was the first made by a newspaper here on the full-powers-bill, although Nazis said the proposals came too late to help America’s fellow democracies.

Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung restricted its comment to the clause on the repair of foreign armaments in the United States.

The newspapers said that, under the Hague Convention, belligerent warships may remain in neutral harbors only 24 hours and that a time extension could be granted only to give them the opportunity to become seaworthy. It said that, under the time extensions, ships could not engage in repairs to increase their military strength and that they could not repair damage to weapons suffered in battle.

Allegemeine Zeitung said that the Hague Convention forbids the use of neutral harbors for the replenishment of military stores, weapons or foodstuffs. Food stores, it said, amy be replenished only to a normal peacetime level. Crews, it said, could not be replaced.

No official or authorized comment on the full powers bill has yet been made here.

However, a spokesman remarked:

By the time American aid under the Roosevelt bill is available, England will long have been taken care of.

Official quarters refused comment pending a thorough study of the bill and its implications.

Newspapers published the main proposals of the full-powers bill.

Air control claimed

Both the Völkischer Beobachter and the Börsen-Zeitung headlined “Roosevelt’s Help-Britain Law.” The Lokalanziger, under a similar headline had the subsidiary headline

The Nazi official newspaper organ, Völkischer Beobachter, in an editorial on British hopes of American aid which constituted an indirect comment also on the full-powers bill said:

Between the Messiah, who would rescue England, and the British Isles lies the ocean and our fliers control the British Isles themselves. They will see to it that the works of the new Messiah will be ruined there, where this new Messiah has lost nothing.

Red Pact stressed

Newspapers gave all possible prominence to the German-Russian agreement under such headlines as “Great Disappointment for England,” “Strengthening of German War Potential,” “Symbol of German-Russian Cooperation” and “Peace Bulwark.”

The Völkischer Beobachter said:

The agreements with Russia involve all political and space-and-economics planning of a large nature, presenting a fundamental contribution by both lands to the peaceful cooperation of European peoples to the spirit of a new order. On this peace bulwark all hopes and intrigues of plutocratic enemies of the ‘have nots’ will shatter. By the trade agreement England’s blockade and its hopes are again disappointed.

Machinery wanted

German deliveries to Russia, the newspaper said incidentally, will embrace “countless” fields, but above all machinery.

Newspapers generally commented sarcastically on foreign and especially British skepticism at the time Germany and Russia first got together as the war started.

The official news agency called the Russian-German trade agreement “the greatest economic agreement ever conducted between two states.”

It asserted that the volume of commodity exchanges involved would reach into the billions of marks.

A mark is nominally worth 40¢.

Tremendous deliveries of grain would be possible, the agency said, because the latest estimates put Russia’s grain harvest at 126 million tons. Furthermore, it said, Russia would deliver oil, including gasoline. Cotton, it said, would be delivered in quantities “such as had never been agreed upon,” and flax also would be sent. Manganese was mentioned as one of the most important ones to be delivered.