Gareth Jones

[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]



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Will France Withhold

Lorraine Iron Ore

from the Saar?


Hermann Röchling is the iron and steel king of the Saar.  He rules over a vast works employing over 4,000 workers, and is the outstanding figure in the campaign to secure the return of the Saar to Germany.  In this he has the support of the large majority of his fellow-Saarlanders. 

I went to see him in Völklingen, the Llanelly of the Saar territory, and talked to him in his plainly furnished office beneath the shadow of his blast furnaces. 

“What will be the economic consequences of the return of the Saar to Germany?”  I asked this ironmaster, who had once been sentenced to imprisonment by the French.  

He replied that if the French made difficulties and refused to send iron ore from Lorraine into the Saar Germany would be able to obtain ore from Donau-Eschlngen, where scientists were making investigations.  “They will not get me on my knees,” he declared. 

Economic Link 

He thought, however, it was most unlikely that an economic war would break out between France and Germany when the Saar returned to the homeland.  Lorraine had 1,250,000,000 tons of iron ore lying in the earth and they would certainly deliver the ore to the Saar. 

The Saar and Lorraine were economically bound together. Lorraine needed Saar coal and the Saar needed Lorraine ore.  The French would be practically obliged to import coal from the Saar, because that was the most suitable coal for their coke-ovens. 

The Saar would have many economic advantages when it returned to Germany.  Germany already bought over half the steel, half the glass, and half the pottery produced in the Saar.  A gas conduit was to be built to South Germany.  The increase of the electricity supply would be very great indeed.  The Saar would benefit from the improving business conditions so marked in the Germany of Hitler. 

I brought up the question of German payment for the mines now held by the French. 

Security For Mines 

Herr Röchling stated that Germany could give security for the mines.  The mines had declined enormously In value, he stated.  According to the report of M.Guillaume (Director of the Saar Mines) there had been a loss of 19,075,728 gold marks (£950,000 at par) in 1931 and of 21,813.043 marks (nearly £1,100,000) in 1932.  M. Guillmehad stated: 

 “If the financial results of the working of the mines do not show a marked improvement in the years 1933 and 1934, one can imagine how the conversations which may begin in 1935 on the question of the re-purchase of the Saar mines will be influenced to the detriment of the interests of the French State.” 

In conclusion, Herr Röchling stated that Germany would have to spend £5,000,000 to repair and improve the mines after the French departure. 








Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany.


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