File No. 763.72119/354

The Ambassador in France ( Sharp) to the Secretary of State


1805. At 2.30 this afternoon M. Briand, President of the Council, handed me at the Foreign Office the reply of the Allied Governments to the President’s suggestion contained in your circular telegram of December 18.1 Baron Beyens, Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, was present and in the name of his Government handed me a separate note stating that while the Belgian Government had joined in the reply of the Allies yet, because of the peculiar situation of Belgium in this war and because of the aid given her by American citizens and the sympathy they have shown in her great distress, the Government of the King was desirous of setting forth that situation and proclaiming its gratitude to the United States in a separate communication.

M. Briand stated that in view of the President’s communication having been published as well as the answer thereto of the Central powers, the public in France and the Allied countries is in an expectant frame of mind eager to know the answer of their Governments which is daily awaited; that for this reason as well as the impossibility of keeping confidential in so many countries a communication of this importance it has not been found feasible to conform [Page 6] in this regard to the President’s wishes as much as he would be pleased to do so. It is the desire and intention therefore to publish at on Friday morning the 12th, he feeling sure that this delay will give the President time to take full cognizance of the communication before it is made public and will show the desire of the Allies to give deference as far as it has been possible to his wishes in this respect. Both Ministers were very cordial in their declarations voicing their appreciation of the President’s motives.

Translation of the two notes will follow in separate telegrams by sections.