462.00 R 294/63: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain ( Harvey ) to the Secretary of State


154. The sending of replies to your army cost note by France and Belgium58 changes aspect of matter here possibly to advantage of [Page 226] the United States. Much depends on the exact nature of the French reply. Published reports indicate that it may not be entirely satisfactory to you. Paris Chicago Tribune calls the reply “particularly cordial” and states it “accepts in entirety America’s claim”. It adds that the reply is only an individual acknowledgment of the note of the United States pending a formal and joint response by the Allies.

The Paris correspondent of the Daily Telegraph also reports that the French note does not amount to a full reply to the American demands but is rather in the nature of an acknowledgment.

I have asked Ambassador Herrick to send for my information the text of the French note but, whatever its exact tenor, the British Government is quite likely to feel freer to make an individual reply without consulting the views of the Allies. The result I think will be more complete acknowledgment of American rights by British Government than would otherwise have been attainable. They not only manifest a willingness to meet your views on the main point but would welcome confidential suggestions from you as to the method or procedure which they might propose to the Allies. I believe that this is reason why Curzon refrained from discussing the question in Paris, Time bears on this phase especially with respect to apportionment of money on hand, including 500,000,000 gold marks which the Finance Ministers allotted to Great Britain, since on Friday Lloyd George, Horne, and Curzon leave for Genoa and immediately upon return Horne must present budget. Naturally they would be glad to have you acquiesce in that apportionment both because they dread to reopen the question with Allies and for the purposes of budget, which is expected to provide for interest on indebtedness to the United States. However, I would not have you infer that reaching of understanding in respect to this matter is in any way a condition of their accepting in principle your proposition as given in note contained in your 76 of March 20.59 I have every right to feel that the main point is definitely settled by message from Curzon through Crowe.60 Moreover, I have no doubt of their friendly intentions and good faith.

My only purpose is to inform you of the entire situation so that if you consider it advisable you may send me hints to guide in conversation possibly leading to something more definite to be subsequently submitted for you to consider.

Curzon will hardly be able to present question as it now stands to Lloyd George before Tuesday.

  1. For the reply from France, see p. 229; from Belgium, p. 228.
  2. See telegram to the Ambassador in France, no. 90, Mar. 20, p. 220.
  3. Not printed.