462.00 R 294/105½

Memorandum by the Secretary of State of a Conversation with the French, Belgian, and British Ambassadors and the Italian Chargé, November 8, 1922

The French Ambassador presented a memorandum on behalf of the four Powers71 in answer to the communication[s] of this Government [Page 233] in March, last, with respect to the cost of its army of occupation on the Rhine. The French Ambassador read the memorandum and said that he merely desired to add that the situation was a very difficult one from a financial standpoint and that he hoped a way would be found to meet the American wishes without disturbing what had already been done; that of late Germany had been making payments only in kind and possibly some arrangement could be made to pay the United States in some manner. The Secretary asked the other Ambassadors and the Italian Chargé if they desired to add anything to the note or to say anything in addition to what the French Ambassador had said and they said they did not.

The Secretary said that in hearing the note read he had observed a reference to some matters to which our Government desired additional information. The Secretary said he supposed there had been no question about the facts which had been jointly fully presented in a confidential memorandum and the accounts prepared by the Reparation Commission, and he wondered what required further elucidation. The British Ambassador said he understood they did not refer to any question of fact but only as to the way in which payment could be arranged for and the method of adjustment which would be satisfactory to the United States. The Secretary said that he appreciated the difficulties of the situation and while he would not at the moment make a definite response to the invitation he viewed with favor any direct method of approaching the matter with a view to a just settlement. The Secretary said that from the start his principal aim had been that the United States with respect to the army costs should not be put at a disadvantage as compared with the other Powers, as the United States had maintained its army really not in its own interest but at the request of, and in the interest of, the other Powers, and he thought that they should be treated on the same footing. The American Government would be very glad to take the matter up in a friendly spirit to see what practicable course could be adopted.

  1. Memorandum of Nov. 8, supra.