File No. 861.00/2567

Memorandum of the Counselor for the Department of State (Polk) of conversation with the British Chargé (Barclay) in regard to telegram from Mr. Balfour to Lord Reading, dated July 25, on the subject of the proposed mission to Siberia1

The United States Government appreciates the offer to cooperate on the part of the British Government. It is apparent, however, that the British Government believes the United States Government has in mind a purely economic mission rather than a mission which would have for its main object the study of the situation and would endeavor to ascertain in what way the Russian could be assisted to help himself. In other words, the Red Cross and educational side of the mission would be very much more to the fore than the economic side. As the personnel of the mission has not been selected, and as the policy to be pursued would more or less depend on the report that the mission may make, the United States Government is not in a position to discuss at this time the questions involving the class of goods which ought to be sent, the advisability of establishing branch banks, or the terms on which goods are to be sold to the Russian Government.

  1. Note in the margin of MS.: “Copy given to Mr. Barclay Aug. 16 at Mr. Polk’s request. W. P[hillips].” Note on an attached letter to the President forwarding Mr. Balfour’s telegram: “Aug. 13, 1918. President called and told me to reply as I suggested in memorandum attached. F. L. P[olk].”