500.A4/31a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Belgium ( Whitlock )

28. Your 25, July 13, 6 p.m. Please explain informally and orally to Minister for Foreign Affairs that the fact that the Belgian Government was not approached with reference to the Conference on limitation of armament was solely because the President felt compelled, [Page 35] after mature consideration, to limit the conference to the five powers; that it was impracticable to arrange for a conference of all the Powers of the world, and no selection was possible save those already defined as the five Principal Allied and Associated Powers; that it clearly appeared that exception could not be made in favor of Belgium, even in the special circumstances of her case, because of the susceptibilities and desires of other friendly governments; that the President does not desire in any way to lower the prestige of Belgium, but on the contrary to enhance it, and it is hoped that Belgium’s economic interests in the Far East will make it possible to include her in the discussion relating to Far Eastern questions, a matter of great, if not dominant, importance in the conference and thus affording an opportunity for her participation and cooperation without raising questions as to other Powers not having such interests. The President hopes that this may be arranged without difficulty. You may add that the United States Government hopes to receive from the Belgian Government the same confidence in its friendship and consideration and the same loyal cooperation it has always enjoyed in the past.

Hughes