File No. 763.72/2440
The Ambassador in Great Britain (Page) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 26, 11.15 p. m.]
2175. To the Secretary and the President:
I send the following for your information as an item in my report on broadcast opinions.[Page 416]
There is a feeling in official circles that some sinister influence is at work to cause misunderstanding at Washington of British feeling and action. The English were surprised at such a misunderstanding as occurred at Washington about the dealings of private American interests directly with the British Government about shipping.1 They had never considered our Government a party to these dealings. There are plain intimations that the Chicago packers are, in British opinion, not playing a fair game but are “loading up” the British Government with products that are not marketable here, by taking advantage of the British willingness to buy cargoes rather than permit them to pass through neutral countries to Germany. The official feeling, as I gather it, is strong that German influence and special interests in the United States are pushing to bring about a public demand that, a blow having been given to Germany, a corresponding blow must now be given to England.
The Foreign Office has lately been more prompt and effective in giving answers to shipping questions than at any previous period in spite of the fundamental disturbance in the make-up of the Cabinet, and they show a keener appreciation of the need and justice of promptness. I remarked to Sir Edward Grey the other day that this was surely a good time to clean the slate, and he almost effusively agreed with me.... I am doing everything possible to hurry action and with better results and better hope than I had awhile ago.