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236 Mr A. T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London, to Lt Col W. R. Hodgson, Secretary of Department of External Affairs

Memorandum H150 LONDON, 3 August 1938



The Rt Hon. R. G. Menzies, K.C., M.P., Attorney-General and
Minister for Industry, left London for Germany by air on
Wednesday, 27th July, and remained in Berlin for four days. Mr
Menzies himself described his visit as being undertaken for the
purpose of general observation at first hand, and with a view to
contacts with representative men in Germany. The visit attracted
considerable notice in both the London and German press. The
'Times' Parliamentary Correspondent on 28th July, commented that
'it was a minor landmark in the progress of the Dominions towards
an individual European policy'.

The Attorney-General was accompanied by Mrs Menzies, and his staff
comprised Mr Heydon, Private Secretary, and Mr Stirling, who had
been seconded for the visit. The Minister took an early
opportunity of establishing contact with the British Ambassador in
Berlin, Sir Nevile Henderson, with whom he had long conferences on
each of the four days of his visit. [1] The Ambassador gave a
dinner at the Embassy on 28th July in honour of Mr and Mrs

The German Foreign Office put a senior officer at the Minister's
disposal throughout his stay in Berlin. Calls were made on several
departmental heads at the Wilhelmstrasse. Among those whom the
Minister saw were Herr von Weizsacker, the State Secretary for
Foreign Affairs, Herr von Woermann, Assistant Secretary and lately
Charge d'Affaires in London, Herr von Rinteln of the Western
European Department, and Herr Wiehl, director of the Trade
section. Before leaving London Mr Menzies also saw the German
Ambassador, Herr von Dircksen. Dr Schacht, President of the
Reichsbank, gave a luncheon for Mr Menzies on 28th July, at which
the British Ambassador, the State Secretary, the other directors
of the Reichsbank and representatives of all the leading German
banks and industrial organisations were present. A dinner was
given jointly on 29th July by Herr Brinckmann, head of the
Reichswirtschafts Ministerium, and Herr Herbert Goering.

Among others with whom Mr Menzies had discussions during the
course of his visit were the Financial Adviser to the Embassy, (Mr
G. H. S. Pinsent of the United Kingdom Treasury), the British
Counsellor, Sir G. Ogilvie-Forbes, the Military Attach&, Colonel
Mason MacFarlane, Sir Edward Reid, director of Baring Bros who was
in Berlin in connection with the recent financial negotiations,
and the South African Minister to Germany, Dr Gie.

Although the principal object of his visit was to observe the
political situation, Mr Menzies also made arrangements to see
something of German industry. A visit was paid to Siemensstadt,
and a whole morning was spent in inspecting the Siemens works, an
organisation employing Some 120,000 men and women. The Minister
first saw over the Metallwerk and Kabelwerk which turn out cables
for heavy and light-current engineering and the accessories
necessary for their installation. A visit was then paid to the
Dynamowerk where the largest electrical machines are manufactured,
including the alternators which have supplied Ireland with
electricity since 1929. The staff club houses and dining rooms,
and the colonies of workers' flats, houses and gardens in. the
vicinity of Siemensstadt, were all inspected, and a lunch was
given by the directors at which Mr Menzies spoke.

To see something of the work of smaller industries Mr Menzies
visited the Lindner works at Wittenau. Here machine tools are
manufactured, a particular feature being the use of the latest
optical measuring instruments as part of the actual process of
manufacture instead of their being applied only to the finished

Mr Menzies also drove out into the country to see examples of the
new State highways which radiate from Berlin all over Germany, and
to try the 'Arvus' track, where a speed of just under 100 m.p.h.

was reached. On the way a visit was paid to the recently erected
Olympic Stadium, the swimming pool and open air theatre, which
form part of the 'Kraft durch Freude' movement, and the Tempelhof

Mr Menzies left Berlin on the evening of Saturday, 30th July, by
air for the Netherlands. He spent two days at Amsterdam, making
brief journeys to the Hague and Haarlem and renewing contacts made
on his visit to the Netherlands in June, 1936. The party returned
to London by air on Monday, 1st August.

From the point of view of the Department the visit enabled the
making, or renewing, by two officers of a large number of contacts
with the British Embassy in Berlin, the German Foreign Office, and
elsewhere. It will be of great value, in the case of the London
Office, to have direct contacts with the present staff of the
Berlin Embassy on a similar basis to those already existing with
the Embassies at Paris and Rome.


1 This document and Document 237 are the only records found of
Menzies's discussions in Berlin.

[AA : A981, GERMANY 43, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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