550.E1 Russia/3: Telegram

The Ambassador in Italy (Child) to the Secretary of State


53. Your no. 5, May 11, 7 p.m. Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, acting as presiding officer of the Conference and also on behalf of his Government, and Lloyd George have presented to me an invitation for the United States under the conditions of an agreement which the inviting powers made tonight to submit tomorrow to the political sub-commission. This agreement is sent textually and briefed in my no. 54 dated 2 a.m. today. A protest has been made by the Soviet delegation against the ban on separate agreements. The Russians ask for mixed rather than separate commissions. For the reasons which follow I do not advise acceptance:

Final definition of terms is lacking.
It is advisable to withhold final decision on account of the disciplinary effect it will have on Soviet Russia.
The hope of America’s becoming involved has already been effective in preventing a serious Anglo-French discord. For the first time these two delegations have cooperated.
The inviting powers have already made public the declaration against separate agreements and it has had its moral effect.

I recommend, however, that the United States give some indication that it will seriously consider either active or advisory participation in case the Genoa Conference has a definite proposal. In this way the disciplinary effect will be maintained and the impression of prompt courtesy be given to the Conference. I have taken care to refrain from expressing any opinion. I have also given consistent warnings that American private opinion does not have official sanction and I have stated again and again that American policy was determined not at Genoa but at Washington.