Ich denke, sie sind Hitlers Agenten

Alexander Cadogan, Staatssekretär

Tuesday, 17 October

Alexander Cadogan

More messages from Dahlerus [Birger Dahlerus], who is annoyed at me not welcoming him here. But if he has any 'proposals', he has only got to give them to Nevile Bland. Admiral [Hugh Sinclair] has a story from his 2 German Generals that they will be in Holland today! (It's always 'tomorrow'.) Meanwhile they seem to convey that Hitler has 'bad news' from Italy: is in an excitable state: has given orders which Goering refuses to carry out: and that latter has been dismissed! We shall see! ... German attack in west renewed, but no appreciable results, apparently.

Thursday, 19 October

Dahlerus [Birger Dahlerus] still bothering, but I drafted a quietus, which was approved, with alterations.

Friday, 20 October

Went to Ministry of Information at 3.30 to see Findlater Stewart and attempt to strangle their 'Intelligence' Section, which seems desirous of building up a Foreign Service and a Secret Service. Won't have this. ... I think we were agreed to strangle it.

Saturday, 21 October

H.J.W. rang up to say F. Stewart in a frightful stew about letter from H. to Macmillan asking to take back Foreign Publicity Department. This is the last shred of the Ministry of Information! Perth (and C. Peake) had been pressing for this. I spoke to H. about 3 weeks ago about it, but I couldn't press it hard, as I hadn't got all the arguments. Recommended him to see Perth. As a result, he and P[erth] walked to F.O. one morning recently, and a draft to Macm[illan] appeared. I don't know who drafted it; I saw it and approved - and approve. But it appears fairly to have put the cat amongst the pigeons! Warned H. after the Cabinet. He said: 'Oh that's all right: this morning P.M. told me he was thinking of winding up the Ministry and asked whether I'd mind taking back the F[oreign] Publicity] Department]. I said that, far from minding, I'd just proposed that to Macm[illan]!' So I did no more about it.

Sunday, 22 October

G. J[ebb] rang up twice saying there was a frightful stink about Ministry of Information. There'll be more, before I've done with it.

Monday, 23 October

H.J.W. did not turn up to see H. about Ministry of Information - as threatened - at 10.30. So I suppose he has found that P.M. is in favour of winding it up! I told H. all about the shamozzle, but was glad to find him unmoved. ... 'C' [Hugh Sinclair] has got report on interview with his German General friends. I think they are Hitler agents.

I don't know what Hitler is going to do about the war. No one is waging it at present. (And I'm damned if I know how we are going to do it.) The only hope of a decisive result is a collapse in Germany, and I am being driven to the conclusion, by a study of millions of reports, that we can't look for that yet. What is the answer?

Tuesday, 24 October

'C''s [Hugh Sinclair] Germans have put 2 questions and I discussed with H. [Lord Halifax] answer to give them, and subsequently drafted it. ... Showed H. [Lord Halifax] my draft reply to Germans, which he approved. We went over to P.M. [Neville Chamberlain] with it at 6.30. He approved generally, with verbal alterations. Discussed war aims with him, and evolved some sort of line. Dined at home. Masses of work, till midnight. Must cut it down somehow.

Wednesday, 25 October

3.30 talk with R. Leeper, and later with H., about War Aims. Not v. conclusive. Benes at 5, till 6.15. He obviously trying to get our recognition of his 'Provisional Government' - which he has failed to get in Paris. Corbin about Mooney (American) who has seen Goering and got the usual stuff.

Dined with Tilea. Aras, Momtchiloff, Simopoulos and Soubbotitch. What a party! Sat talking Balkans till 11, when I tore myself away. They were plotting a Neutral Balkan Bloc, and I encouraged them where and how I could. I left them drafting telegrams to their Governments. I only gave Tilea the advice that they should call a meeting on economic grounds.

Thursday, 26 October

A lot of work, which carried me on, with interval for dinner, till 11.30. That is my earliest hour nowadays. I must cut it down somehow.

Saturday, 28 October

10.45 talked with H. [Lord Halifax] and Van about messages which V[ansittart] has received from K [Wilhelm Canaris] and Max Hohenlohe [Prinz Hohenlohe-Langenburg]. Decided on answer to give - much on lines of that given to D [Birger Dahlerus] and the Generals.

Sunday, 29 October

Read Aldous Huxley. Good for the soul - not Aldous Huxley, but the relaxation of reading and getting one's mind off the daily track. We are, after all, although bureaucrats, human beings. And no human being can go on for ever chained to a wheel: it's bad for him and he becomes rotten. Must relax, cynically, if you like.

Monday, 30 October

Walked alone to F.O. Caught by air raid warning in Lower Grosvenor Place. So took taxi to F.O. Went up to my room to collect papers and while there 'All Clear' sounded. Another of these 'electrical defects'. It's an outrage!

H. grateful for my diary. Discussed Communications Dept. worry. He will consult P.M. and wd. like high legal opinion - e.g. Lord Chancellor. Fortified by that, he wd. be prepared to see the doomed members. This is much the best, but I hadn't liked to suggest to him such a horrible duty.


P.M. [Neville Chamberlain], during week-end, had studied messages from Max Hohenlohe [Prinz Hohenlohe-Langenburg] and K. [Wilhelm Canaris], and our draft reply. After lunch H. [Lord Halifax] showed me P.M.'s reactions and I drafted on them. ... Fixed up draft reply to Hohenlohe with H.

Tuesday, 31 October

Put replies to Hohenlohe [Prinz Hohenlohe-Langenburg] and K. [Wilhelm Canaris] in final form and gave them to Van. ... Fresh message from our German Generals in Holland. Doesn't get us much further, but must keep them on hook. Devised outline of reply with H [Lord Halifax]. Then Menzies [Stewart Menzies] came over with further message, which doesn't alter situation much. Went over with H. [Lord Halifax] to see P.M. [Neville Chamberlain] at 6.45. There for about an hour, drafting reply, which we shall have to look at again in the morning. There's something going on in Germany. That's about all one can say. 'Change of Guard' in Rome. All to the good.

Wednesday, 1 November

Cabinet were told of our contact with Generals and didn't like it. Told H. [Lord Halifax] that first impact was bound to be unfavourable and rouse suspicion. He mustn't listen too much to Winston [Winston Churchill] on the subject of 'beating Germany'. We must try every means of helping G[ermany] to beat herself. ... Had to redraft (for the nth time) reply to Generals. P.M. [Neville Chamberlain] frightened by the Cabinet!

Thursday, 2 November

Cabinet did nothing about reply to Generals - as Winston [Winston Churchill] away till Sunday night! This may be all right. R. sends telegram tonight from Lucerne Hermann proposes meeting Scheveningen'. That may mean what it says, or it may mean invasion of Holland!

Friday, 3 November

More messages from Generals, who want an answer, and seem to expect 'negotiations'. This is awkward, as Winston's [Winston Churchill] suspicions aroused, he is away till Sun. night and no one dares answer without his approval. Went over with H. [Lord Halifax] to P.M. [Neville Chamberlain] and agreed on reply merely saying we hoped to give answer Mon. or Tues. Further complication in that they have concealed earlier exchanges of messages from Cabinet, and I don't know how long we shall be able to keep this up.

Word through Christie that the 'Hermann' message was a warning about Holland. But S.I.S. think nothing of the source.

Monday, 6 November

H. [Lord Halifax] sent car for me at 9.30. He had to go on to see Winston [Winston Churchill] (about Generals). ... H. [Lord Halifax] returned about 10.30 having nobbled Winston [Winston Churchill]. ... Saw H. [Lord Halifax] afterwards; he gave me text to reply to Generals, which I sent off. They are expected in Holland again tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, 7 November

About 7.15 news of Leopold-Wilhelmina offensive and of our talks with Generals yesterday - said to be 'satisfactory'.

Wednesday, 8 November

11.30 Palace to introduce Ecuadorean, whom I had primed to be chatty and who played up. Had some talk with the King: told him how I thought we should advise he reply to Leopold and Wilhelmina. After Ecuadorean left, the King commented on his chattiness. I said ' Yes: I thought he'd do that to Y.M.: he did it to me yesterday!'... 3.15 Corbin about Belgian enquiry as to what France would do if Germany invaded Holland (which she looks like doing). ... 5.30 went with S. of S. to P.M. with draft reply to Leopold and Co., and message from Generals. Approved general lines of former, which has to be recast. As regards latter, agreed to tell Cabinet minimum tomorrow.

Thursday, 9 November

Saw Menzies [Stewart Menzies]. General did not come into Holland yesterday, but expected today! 'Nothing immediate contemplated'. Does this refer to coup or to invasion? Hitler missed by a bomb yesterday! P.M. laid up with gout, and Cabinet did not consider draft reply to Leopold-Wilhelmina. Dutch Minister anticipates invasion this week-end, but gives me no reasons. He may be right. ...

All the leaf has come off with a bang in the last 4 days. They started pulling up those beastly dahlias this afternoon. The head gardener, who was there, assured me they were going to put in tulips, as they had got them in any case. Called to F.O. at 11.30. There had been Cabinet after dinner to discuss G.I.G.S. and C.A.S. conversations in France today. Drafted telegram at midnight, with H., to Brussels, insisting on conversations.

Friday, 10 November

Our men, who met, or were to have met, Gen[eral] yesterday, bumped off on Dutch-German frontier. Discussed matter with H. [Lord Halifax] and Menzies [Stewart Menzies]. ... Numerous reports of imminent invasion of Holland. ... Cabinet approved draft reply to Leopold and Wilhelmina. Gave it to Corbin. ... Van in evening with results of his contacts with Hohenlohe [Prinz Hohenlohe-Langenburg], which I think is nothing, and K. [Wilhelm Canaris], who appears to be working with the Generals. Discussed it with H. [Lord Halifax] and decided to give a cold douche to Hohenlohe [Prinz Hohenlohe-Langenburg], who seems to be working with Goering + Hitler. Generals and K. [Wilhelm Canaris] - it seems - are working with Goering-Hitler. But I don't know that we shall keep any contacts with these now.

Reports seem to show that Germany will invade Holland tomorrow or the 15th.

Sunday, 12 November

Had fully thought Germans would be in Holland by now, but they're not. Wonder whether it does mean that there are divided counsels and that the Generals are exercising some restraining influence ? ... G.J. came round to ask what we were to do with the Press about the brawl in Holland. Decide to issue 'D' notice.

Monday, 13 November

Talk with H. and Sargent about latter's idea of taking over anti-Comintern Pact, and thereby roping in Italy, Japan and Spain. Attractive, but there are difficulties. Will talk to Loraine about it - it may afford an opening for talking privately to the Italians and getting together with them. ... Van has had more from Christie about his communications with Hohenlohe. Don't think they'll do much good, but might be followed up to gain time. ... Holland has recovered her nerve, according to Dutch Minister, who accuses us of panic!!

Wednesday, 15 November

The Generals are still alive - and apparently unaware of the frontier incident. 12.30 Kennedy (Times). Tried to ensure he wouldn't put his foot in it on war aims. ...

Friday, 17 November

Meeting of Supreme Council at No. 10 at 11.15. Daladier, Gamelin, Darlan and Vuillemin, and P.M., H., Chatfield. V. interesting discussion as to whether in event of invasion of Holland and/or Belgium, we should bomb the Ruhr. That was our proposal, and French argued against, and I think they were right.

Saturday, 18 November

War Cabinet at 11.45. Roger Keyes made a havering report of his talks in Royal Circles in Brussels. Winston urged we should not change our Ambassador at this moment! I said I would discuss it with S. of S. I'm not going to be drawn into this argument in Cabinet. Reply from Generals - fairly meaningless - which I submitted to P.M. [Neville Chamberlain] before lunch. He sketched outline of reply, which needn't be discussed before H. [Lord Halifax] gets back.

Sunday, 19 November

Spoke to H. on telephone this morning. He enjoyed his outing with the hounds yesterday, and wasn't stiff as a result. I had nothing to tell Cabinet, so didn't go. Tiresome letter from Winston about successor to Admiral. (At Cabinet yesterday he also raised question of prolonging [Sir R.H.] Clive in Brussels. Must fight against both of these. He ought to have enough of his own to do without butting into other people's business.)

Monday, 20 November

Had to prepare for War Cabinet, who are suddenly discussing Enemy Exports and Far East. ... War Cabinet at 11.30 to 1.30. Didn't have much to say - rather a waste of time. Winston fussed about magnetic mines. Decided in principle to stop enemy exports. ... Promotions Board 3 till 4.15 with everyone at their most leisured and tiresome. 4.30 meeting with Winston, Chatfield and Dominions about defence of Singapore and Australia. ... I was only asked one question - about Siam, about which I know nothing, but said something.

Tuesday, 21 November

P.M. annoyed about draft which I sent him last night for his statement about enemy exports, as it wasn't explicit enough. I could only say that I must have misunderstood. As a matter of fact, draft prepared by W. Malkin and Attorney Gen. and approved by Cross, who were all present at yesterday's Cabinet, and apparently got the same impression that I did! ... H. returned about 3.15. Had a good deal to discuss with him. He went off to see P.M. at 6. On his return, I found he had gathered P.M. was annoyed with me about this morning's draft. But really not my fault! ... G.J. came in - about 11 - to say Germans had given out a statement about Munich bomb outrage, connecting it with Venlo incident. Rang up C. Peake: told him to point out to Press that the story didn't hang together. Bed after midnight - exhausted.

Wednesday, 22 November

Collected C. Peake, Menzies and others to draft statement for Press in reply to German stuff about bomb outrage. Got a very good one. But Cabinet preferred to say nothing. Perhaps they're right. ... About 7 got radio from Berlin showing that Gestapo have taken over (if they did not always have!) our communications with the 'Generals'. So that's over.

Dined at home and made very little impression on the stacks of muck that everyone throws at me. Depressed.


Wednesday, 20 December

Menzies came over with a story ... of Kanaris' [Wilhelm Canaris] man having said - after handing out the usual stuff - that Germany was 'finished'. Promised to send us written report of conversation. ... Menzies now sends written report, which doesn't seem to me to contain anything on the lines he dad indicated.


Quelle: David Dilks (Hrsg.), The Diaries of Sir Alexander Cadogan 1938-1945, London 1971, S. 224 ff

Sir Alexander Cadogan (*25.11.1884, †9.7.1968) war ein britischer Außenpolitiker. Er studierte in Eton und Oxford und trat 1908 in den Staatsdienst ein. Zwischen 1914 und 1946 war er fast die gesamte Zeit im Außenministerium tätig.

Januar 1938 bis Februar 1946 war er Staatssekretär für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten: Minister Lord Halifax war 'Secretary', Cadogan war 'Permanent Under-Secretary' im Außenministerium.

1946 bis 1950 wurde er britischer Vertreter bei den Vereinten Nationen. 1951 bis 1957 Government Director der Suezkanal-Gesellschaft. 1952 bis 1957 Chairman of the Governers der British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Seine Tagebücher wurden 1971 posthum von David Dilks herausgegeben.

Akteure beim Venlo-Zwischenfall