The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Great Britain ( Laughlin )
Washington , December 7, 1918—7 p.m.
3330. For Crosby from McAdoo. Treasury 615. Referring to your recent cables and particularly paragraph 10 number 787.4
- First: Convinced that peace conference will deal with fourteen points of the President and that no questions will be determined by conferees regarding our past or future loans or the date of their maturity. This is apparent as Treasury has not been given official representation at the conference and my opinion has not been asked about these financial questions as undoubtedly would have been the case if American representatives expected to discuss such questions.
- Second: All questions regarding (a) the amount which the United States shall loan Allied Governments within the limits approved by the President and (b) the form of the obligations and the date of their maturity so far as not fixed by statute are matters which Congress has delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury and they must be determined by him. These questions should not, even if technically possible to do so, be settled at the peace table. The peace conferees will certainly not wish to interfere with authorities expressly delegated by Congress.
- Third: As Treasury is not to be officially represented at Peace Conference you will appreciate that it must not be unofficially represented there.
- Fourth: Secretary of the Treasury is prepared whenever the Allied Governments desire, to discuss with them in Washington and to determine all questions regarding conversion and maturities of our foreign debt. Congress has delegated to him settlement of these questions and all discussions in regard to these matters should be confined to Washington.
- Fifth: I am convinced that time is rapidly approaching if indeed it has not already been reached when all financial discussions should be conducted in Washington by the Secretary of the Treasury and therefore think matters should be shaped looking to as early a discontinuance of the Inter-Ally Finance Council and the return home of your organization as can be accomplished with dignity and a due regard to the feelings of the Allied Governments.
- Sixth: If you should deem it desirable to visit Washington in the immediate future to discuss the entire situation before terminating the existence of your organization I should entirely approve of your doing so. While however I appreciate the advantage to the Treasury and to the new Secretary of such a discussion I leave to your judgment the decision as to the relative importance of such a visit and of your presence in Europe during the next few weeks.
- Not printed.↩