Non-Aggression and Security Pacts

August 1, 1934

Report Outline
Eastern Locarno Plan and the European Situation
Purpose and Progress of Eastern Locarno Project
European Security and Non-Aggression Treaties
General and American Anti-War Treaties

Eastern Locarno Plan and the European Situation

Upon the outcome of pending negotiations in Europe for conclusion. of a non-aggression and security pact extending the principles and guarantees of the Locarno treaties to Germany's eastern frontiers, Russia's western borders, and the boundaries of the succession states in northeast-err. Europe may depend in large degree the success of further efforts at arms limitation, the settlement of German arms demands, and the future relations of the Reich with the League of Nations. If Germany can be induced to become a signatory of the proposed pact, through the granting of sufficient concessions to insure her return to the Disarmament Conference and the League, that parley may be resumed with some prospect of eventually producing a limitation treaty, since the pact itself and Germany's renewed association with the great powers at Geneva should go far to satisfy the security requirements of France. If on the other hand the Hitler government elects to remain apart and thus to frustrate the plan, the virtually certain result will be a further tightening of defensive bonds among Germany's neighbors, the indefinite adjournment of the Disarmament Conference, and an intensification of the new arms race that is apparently already under way. Hence the proposal for a so-called Eastern Locarno vitally concerns the whole European political situation and even the prospects for future world peace.

By joining in the new undertaking Germany would presumably receive at least partial recognition of her demand for equal treatment in the matter of armaments, and she would avoid the otherwise likely conclusion of an independent defensive alliance between France and the Soviet Union serving to curb her aspirations in the east. The Reich's return to Geneva, more over, might help to allay foreign distrust of Hitler's motives and to improve public opinion toward Germany in other countries. It is probable, however, that such a step would be regarded within Germany not as a proper conciliatory move but as a surrender to pressure applied by foreign powers. The project places Berlin in a real dilemma for the reason that its acceptance would involve admission of the inviolability of Germany's eastern frontiers and be tantamount to abandonment of German hopes of revising the status quo in that region.

The increasingly severe economic strains to which the Reich is now being subjected may force the government to adopt an amenable attitude, if in the meantime the slow course of diplomacy is not overtaken by an economic collapse producing internal disturbances that might completely change the present picture. The delicate situation in Austria also raises an indeterminable factor affecting the outlook for conclusion of agreements to safeguard the peace of Europe, although the opinion has been expressed in Moscow that the current crisis demonstrates the need of pressing negotiations for an Eastern Locarno with renewed vigor.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Alliances and Security Agreements
Arms Control and Disarmament
International Law and Agreements