462.00 R 29/2701½

Memorandum by the Secretary of State of a Conversation with the Germm Ambassador (Wiedfeldt), May 3, 1923

Reparations.—The German Ambassador left a note, in English and German, dated May 2, 1923, containing the German offer. The Ambassador orally recapitulated the points of the note, but did not add to them, save to say that he was very glad that the German Government had been able to make a definite offer and he thought that this should be regarded as the starting point in the negotiations. He was rather skeptical about the acceptance of the French Government although there was no definite statement as yet from the Government itself as distinguished from the French press. The Secretary said that he supposed that the matter came down in the last analysis to an agreement between the Germans and the French; that the French were in possession and that it seemed to him that the question could only be solved by the most direct and intimate negotiations to find a satisfactory basis. The Secretary inquired whether contact could not be established so that the matter could be threshed out without necessarily taking the form of formal notes, as it seemed to him that the situation called for the most direct and [Page 61] practical treatment. The Secretary also suggested that action seeming to be intended to bring pressure on France from the outside would have the immediate effect of causing an unpleasant French reaction and make the negotiations more difficult. In the last analysis the French agreement would have to be obtained and the question was what was the best course to secure it. The Ambassador did not express himself upon these points.

The Secretary said that there was always so much speculation with regard to a note of this sort, when it was known that it was to be delivered and the purport of it had been anticipated in the press, that he thought it advisable, if the Ambassador had no objection, that the text should be made public. The German Ambassador said there was no objection and he would make it public at once.