462.00 R 29/420: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Wallace)

77. B–197, [for Boyden] from Davis.

Realizing the force of the views expressed in your B–356,5 I have delayed a reply until the question could be considered in every aspect and President consulted.
It was not deemed advisable for you to attend the Brussels meeting in view of the fact that we have not, by ratification, become a party to the Treaty and it is difficult to justify active participation in its application or revision when we are not a party to its main text. Furthermore the role of informal helper and unofficial participant in the discussion is very difficult to maintain. It is impossible that your words and even your silence would not be considered as in some degree reflecting the attitude of this Government, which it would be difficult to do authoritatively as its official mind not being made up is therefore incapable of expression or interpretation.
Referring to your comments on the results of the last election you doubtless recall that an attempt was made in 1919 to obtain the consent of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to our being represented on the Reparations Commission. Congress evinced no interest then, nor has it subsequently, in our being represented on the Commission despite the important and tangible advantages which your presence there has afforded to American interests. Our withdrawal from the Council of Ambassadors was received without dissent and caused no comment whatever. Some of the Senate leaders have informed me that the first step under the new administration will be to conclude a separate peace with Germany. This would automatically eliminate this country as a party to the program of reparations provided for under the Treaty of Versailles and would also automatically eliminate you from the Commission. The President was definitely opposed to your going to Brussels and thought [Page 6] we should cease to participate in the work of the Commission. He has, in deference to my views, up to the present time acquiesced in your temporarily continuing to take part in the Commission’s work. I believe, however, that the President does not feel that any advantage is to be expected from your further participation in the Commission’s activities.
For your information I may say that we are not uninfluenced by the apparent fact that in all questions where we are accorded a voice the Allies show an increasing tendency to ignore our views, as for instance in regard to the ex-German cables, mandates, etc., and only consult our views in cases where they look to us for assistance.
At present our interests seem to be confined practically to the cost of maintaining the Army of Occupation, shipping questions, dyestuffs and losses suffered by American citizens during the war. If you feel that any particular action should be taken before withdrawal you are requested to telegraph your views at once.
In withdrawing present to the Commission the following notification: “I am instructed by my Government to announce my retirement as its unofficial representative on the Reparations Commission. This step is taken in view of the refusal of the Senate of the United States thus far to ratify the Treaty of Versailles, and the feeling on the part of my Government that its position is inconsistent, in participating even informally in the discussion and decision of the various questions coming before the Commission, whose action thereon is taken by virtue of the provisions of said Treaty. I take this opportunity to express, on behalf of myself and of my Government, appreciation of the courteous attention which the Commission and its members have at all times extended to the United States and its unofficial representatives.”
  1. See telegram no. 2026, Dec. 18, 1920, from the Ambassador in France, p. 2.