462.00 R 29/420: Telegram
The Ambassador in France (Wallace) to the Acting Secretary of State
Paris, December 18, 1920—9 p.m.
[Received December 20—10:55 a.m.]
[Received December 20—10:55 a.m.]
2026. B–356 to Davis. Your B–170. Until definitely instructed, Embassy will keep matter confidential.
- Any method of withdrawal from the Reparation Commission by this Administration would, it seems to me, appear undignified. Only the election has occurred to change situation, and this may be interpreted to mean modification or even abandonment of the League, or it may be thought inconclusive, depending chiefly upon the opinion of the interpreter. However, it is very difficult to see in the election any mandate to withdraw support from such other treaty matters as those handled by Reparation Commission. Among the advantages that unofficial representation gives to us are: keeping in touch with the Commission’s work and also with work under other provisions of the treaty for the protection of our interests, the dye question, the advantage to Europe as well as to us through our opportunity to use our influence for reasonable administration and interpretation. The particular demands upon Germany and especially the fixing of the indemnity are a case in point. For unless indemnity and deliveries and particular payments are subject to sound limitations financially and economically, Germany cannot remain solvent, and German solvency which is still possible is of importance to us. And finally, whatever action the new Administration may take in regard to the League, it must arrange new settlement with the Allies and Germany or ratify treaty with or without changes. To leave behind it favorable conditions for a settlement is probably sound policy for this Administration. The most recent information [Page 3] on developments under the treaty, their cause, their effect, the policies and aims of the powers, and the probable effect of rejection, modification, or acceptance of particular provisions of the treaty by United States is obviously one of the conditions. To embarrass the new Administration for political purposes will inevitably appear to be the object of withdrawal. The fact that I ought to be at home is at least counterbalanced by the natural opportunities always acquired on one’s present job plus my very slight Republican tendency, so take my opinion for what it may be worth.
- Procedure appears simple, after decision to withdraw once made. Simultaneous notice to Commission with definite date of withdrawal as well as notice to Governments will be the courteous procedure. Although I favor the shortest period consistent with courtesy, I feel that notice of two or more weeks should be given to avoid abruptness. Unless the dye interest is abandoned, negotiations from outside with the appropriate service of Reparation Commission will be essential. Questions such as tankers would have to be discussed with the Commission by the Embassy. Liquidation of our organization here and at Vienna will probably be easy and expeditious. Although we may vacate this building on notice of one month, we cannot count upon ridding ourselves of financial obligations in less than two, since suB–tenants must receive fair treatment. On date of withdrawal Reparation Commission payments for our rent and office expenses would end. Payments to some but not all like Bayne, Hodge, supported by us but now paid directly by the Commission, would cease. Difficult to estimate what the obligation to treat all these people fairly would cost, for after withdrawal Department must make all payments. I have urged Doctor Taylor, who planned to join us early in January, to come earlier, but as I have received no news of his sailing date, I think it important Department remind him. Uncertainty also about Rhea, but I think it unlikely he will return though he considered so doing. Boyden.