File No. 763.72/3262½

The Counselor for the Department of State ( Polk) to the Secretary of State

My Dear Mr. Secretary: The Swiss Minister just called and left with me the answer of the Swiss Government to the President’s note, which merely states their position.1

He also gave me a suggestion of an agreement he communicated for the German Government which would construe the treaty of 1799.2 This can wait.

After he had presented these two documents, he said he had just received a telegram from the Swiss Government which was an answer to a suggestion made by him that he might be able to do something here to prevent war between Germany and this country. I took down the part of the telegram he read, which was as follows:

They, the German Government, “will be willing to negotiate on any point the United States may ask provided (or except) that the blockade against England be maintained.”

I pointed out that this seemed to imply that they would be satisfied with a blockade against England alone. He said he did not know anything about that; he had merely read the message as given in the telegram. I said of course I could not speak for you, but it seemed to me at first glance that they had excepted the one question on which the President had based his breaking off of diplomatic relations.

I asked if he had any suggestions and he said he had none, but he thought possibly something might be discovered which would save the situation, or that we might think of some point that we wished to discuss.

I told him I would submit the matter to you at once, so you could take it up with the President if you thought it desirable.

Yours sincerely,

Frank L. Polk
  1. See telegram from the Minister in Switzerland, post, p. 127.
  2. See agreement, post, pp. 589590.