Memorandum by the Secretary of State of a Conversation With the French Ambassador (Bérenger)

The French Ambassador said that he had seen a good deal in the press about France’s intention to have the preliminary arms conference adjourned and the British and American press were attacking Chamberlain and Briand for secret agreements at Locarno; that it was not their intention to go on with the conference. The Ambassador assured me that the French Government was in favor of going on [Page 63] with the preliminary conference on May 18; that the date had been fixed at the instance of Chamberlain and Briand and that the reports in the press were entirely erroneous. I assured him that we were going to be prepared. I told him who our delegates would be as near as I could and informed him that neither the President nor I was responsible for any of the articles in the press. He stated he quite understood that. I told him furthermore that neither the President nor I was aware that Mr. Houghton was going to be interviewed by the press nor do we know what he said. I stated that that was a subject I did not care to discuss at all. The Ambassador agreed with me as to the propriety of discussing the matter.