BERLIN (Jan. 20)
The Rublee negotiations on emigration of Jews collapsed suddenly and apparently permanently today with the sudden removal of Dr. Hjalmar Schacht as president of the Reichsbank and his replacement by Economics Minister Walther Funk.
“The development leaves the general situation much worse than before our arrival,” a spokesman close to George Rublee, director of the Intergovernmental Refugee Bureau, declared. While Nazi sources are denying that Dr. Schacht’s activity on the Jewish problem was a leading factor in his dismissal there is indication that the development spells victory for the Nazi radicals whose desire has been to have nothing to do with the Jews except to see them buried.
Technically, the negotiations have merely come to a standstill. This afternoon the Rublee mission was attempting desperately to discover through diplomatic channels whether another point of contact might be made with the Reich in order to continue the talks. Dr. Schacht and Reichsbank Director Karl Blessing have been the official hosts of the Rublee delegation since its arrival early last week.
The conferences so far held were due today to be summarized in a memorandum detailing the new Reich proposal, which was reported to involve creation of additional Reich exports amounting to 45,000,000 marks yearly through emigration of Jews. The proposal, which had already been handed to Mr. Rublee, becomes waste paper and, unless there are unexpected developments in the next few hours, the Evian delegation is going to Paris and London with empty hands, leaving behind a situation even less favorable for further negotiations than before.
Though it is technically possible for the negotiations to be taken up by Dr. Funk, this is believed most unlikely and certainly not on Dr. Schacht’s compromise basis. If, as expected, Mr. Rublee fails to find another point of contact to continue the negotiations he will leave for Paris tonight or tomorrow to report on Monday to the meeting of the officers of the Intergovernmental Refugee Committee.
In informed quarters hope is practically nil that Dr. Funk will take up the proceedings where Dr. Schacht was forced to drop them. It is declared here that “Funk does not want to have anything to do with the plan.” Nor is any hope held out that Dr. Schacht, whose letter of dismissal from Chancellor Hitler stated he would continue serving the Reich with “special tasks,” will be in a position to continue the negotiations. The feeling is strong that radical Nazis have thrown out of the window all compromise attempts and have renounced any responsibility to the outside world, financial or moral, for the Jews.
The break-off came as a stunning surprise to the Rublee mission. First intimation of it came in a telephone call this morning, stating that the appointment with Dr. Schacht, scheduled for today, had been called off. A second call brought the information that Dr. Schacht had been replaced by Dr. Funk, thus automatically turning the memorandum on the new plan into a worthless piece of paper.
The proposal now in the hands of Mr. Rublee was believed the closest approach to a workable scheme yet evolved. The scheme was understood to have removed the objectionable features of the original Schacht surplus export proposal. It was said to have guaranteed livable conditions for the Reich Jews pending their emigration and to have promised that no ghetto would be created in Germany The plan also afforded some provisions for training Jews preparing for emigration.
The development is the hardest blow to German Jewry, which has been watching the talks with painful anxiety.