600.001/606a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France ( Sharp )12

6338. For McFadden from War Trade Board. Your 578, Embassy 5779, November 9, 2 a.m. and your 582, Embassy 5783, November 9, 4 a.m.13 We are in general accord with the views expressed in your cables. It is our opinion that pending the conclusion of peace the blockade should be maintained along the same general lines and through the same instrumentalities as heretofore, subject to such alterations as circumstances may require from time to time. In dealing with the new problems which are arising you should be governed by two major considerations: On the one hand the prevention of any breakdown before peace of the spirit and practice of interallied cooperation; on the other hand the scrupulous avoidance of any commitments which would restrict our liberty of actions at or after the peace conference.

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If the peace negotiations are to result in the constitution of a league of nations or of some closer cooperation of the nations of the world than has existed hitherto, we must not prior thereto create international jealousy and distrust. This would almost certainly result, were we now to abandon our participation in the international blockade organizations and to adopt an independent course of action. Irrespective of our real motives this procedure on our part would unquestionably lend itself to misinterpretation. At the same time, we need not and should not consent to any material enlargement of the powers and functions of these interallied organizations. In particular, great care must be exercised lest these bodies assume the role of semi-permanent organizations for the rationing and reconstruction of the world after peace. At the peace conference the economic power of the United States must be entirely unrestricted, as this force in our hands may be of powerful assistance in enabling us to secure the acceptance of our views. If any international economic control is to be maintained after peace this will we assume be decided at the peace conference. We must not even by implication be committed to it now.

With reference to the various executives which have been set up, it will in many ways be desirable to transfer them to Washington, particularly those which deal with commodities largely controlled by the United States. Since, however, we do not contemplate the maintenance of these organizations after peace, we question somewhat the advisability of incurring at this time the disorganization which would be incident to the suggested transfer. Also feel that the executives must continue to be in close touch with the Allied Maritime Transport Council.

  1. Repeated to the Chargé in Great Britain, Nov. 21, 5 p.m., as No. 2944 (for Sheldon, No. 1662) (600.001/591).
  2. No. 582 not printed.