Memorandum by the Secretary of State of a Conversation with the French Ambassador (Jusserand), December 26, 1922


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The Ambassador then referred to the proposal of the German Ambassador as to a convention of the four Powers,—Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy,—not to engage in war for thirty years. The Ambassador said he had placed it again before M. Poincaré, but the latter did not favor it. He did not trust the Germans. With the hatred which they were instilling in the youth by the instruction in their schools, they could easily provide for a plebiscite whenever they wanted it.

The Secretary then called attention to an apparent leak in the French Foreign Office. The Secretary said that he had been approached by a newspaperman this morning who told him of a report just received from Paris that M. Poincaré had turned down a proposal of the American Government for a four-power treaty abroad between Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy to guaranty the boundaries of Germany for thirty years. The Secretary said that there was enough in this inaccurate statement to show that there had been a leak. The reference to the American proposal, to M. Poincaré’s action in regard to it, and to the term of thirty years indicated this. The Secretary said that he had told the newspaperman that the report was wholly inaccurate, and that there had been no suggestion of an agreement to guaranty the boundaries of Germany. The correspondent had then asked whether any suggestion had been made and the Secretary had merely said that, of course, this Government was always desirous that the Powers [Page 209] concerned should do anything they could to maintain peace. He had said nothing further. The Secretary pointed out that it might shortly be necessary to state exactly what had occurred. The Secretary said that if so much as this was known in Paris it would not be long before a statement would come from Berlin. The Ambassador asked the Secretary not to make a statement at present with respect to what had occurred as to this proposal of Germany, and said he would immediately communicate with M. Poincaré.

The Ambassador asked with regard to Senator Borah’s proposal for an economic conference and said he hardly saw what the American Government could do at this time; that it was no light matter to call a conference and it might be well to wait until the treaties of the former Conference had been ratified before a new Conference was started. The Secretary said that the proposal did not have the support of the Administration.

  1. The first part of this memorandum is printed on p. 197.