The French Chargé ( Béarn ) to the Secretary of State
Mr. Secretary of State: By a letter dated February 10 last,2 Your Excellency requested the Ambassador of France to transmit to the Government of the Republic the invitation of the Government of the United States to take part in a conference called at Washington for the purpose of settling international relations by telegraph, telephone, cable, wireless, etc.
Action to the same end was recently taken by the Ambassador of the United States at Paris with Mr. Millerand who answered that it was indispensable to know the program of the conference before acting upon the invitation.
My Government has since heard, through an indirect channel, that the American Government had decided to admit at the Preliminary Conference in Washington, states other than the Principal Allied and Associated Powers whose cooperation alone had been considered in the letter of Mr. Lansing to Mr. Pichon, dated June 4, 1919,3 and it questions whether such conference composed of representatives of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers and representatives of neutral powers, would really be qualified to settle the question of the allotment of the German cables.
Your Excellency is indeed aware that, under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany relinquished her rights to her cables in favor of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers which, henceforth, are, in the opinion of my Government, alone qualified to determine how the allotment should be made.[Page 125]
But inasmuch as the United States, one of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers, has not, up to date, ratified the treaty with Germany, the Government of the Republic doubts whether the American Government is in a position to enter upon a useful discussion of that question at the present time. It calls attention to the fact that, for that same reason, Your Excellency’s predecessor thought the United States could not be represented at the International Labor Conference called last October in Washington on the initiative of the Federal Government.
Under the circumstances, I am instructed by the Government of the Republic to express to you its regrets that it will not be able to send representatives to that Conference.
Be pleased [etc.]