Memorandum by the Secretary of State of a Conversation with the French Ambassador (Jusserand), January 8, 1923

The French Ambassador called at the Secretary’s request. The Secretary informed the Ambassador that he had confidential advices to the effect that the French intended to occupy the Ruhr within six days. The Secretary spoke of the Senate Resolution calling for the withdrawal of the American troops16 and said that he would be glad, if the Ambassador were free to inform him, whether the report to which he had referred was accurate. The Secretary said that if the French started to go into the Ruhr, our troops would be withdrawn at once. The Ambassador said he had no information on the subject. He expressed the hope that the American troops would not be withdrawn. The Ambassador said he would cable for information but he intimated that all the plans would be made for the occupation of the Ruhr in order to impress Germany and in the hope that some better offer would be made by Germany and that it was not likely that the Government would say they did not intend to go into the Ruhr; that all preparations would be made as if they were going in. The Ambassador did not know what had been decided upon.

The Secretary said that he had informed the press that the matter of the Secretary’s suggestion for an impartial examination of the reparations question for the development of a financial plan by a body of experts, had been discussed with the French Government;17 that the two governments had exchanged their views upon the question. The Secretary said that he had discussed the matter with the Ambassador, who had reported it to his Government, and M. Poincaré had made replies, and of course it had been presented as fully as it could be except it were the subject of a diplomatic note, and that [Page 48] if the French Government desired the Secretary to send a formal note to that effect he was ready to do so; that he did not care to be put in the position of not having presented a matter to the French Government when he had done so fully.

The Ambassador said that he thought it was better to let the matter rest and not to take it up further. The Ambassador again expressed the hope that nothing would be done at the moment with regard to the troops, for fear it would give a wrong impression abroad. The Ambassador said he would cable for information as to the plans of his government with regard to the occupation of the Ruhr, but intimated that he could hardly expect that he would be authorized to make a definite statement.

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  1. S. Res. 395, Jan. 5, 1923, 67th Cong., 4th sess.; see Congressional Record, vol. 64, pt. 2, pp. 1276, 1349, and 1361.
  2. See telegram, Jan. 6, 1923, to Ambassador in France, Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. ii, p. 202.