441.11 W 892/51: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Houghton) to the Secretary of State

[Paraphrase]

117. Your 90, June 5. The interview I had with Chamberlain was carried on in the most friendly spirit. The phrase he used to which you refer was quoted in my telegram merely to show his perplexity, after the withdrawal of the naval delegates, as to the exact object of the proposed visit of Phenix and to indicate the desirability of more closely defining that object. I concluded the interview, fully believing that if this could be done Chamberlain would accept your proposal. You will recall that since Olds’ informal talk with Howard, there has been widespread suspicion here that we would make some sort of effort to question the validity of the British blockade decrees. That subject is not here regarded as open for discussion and any effort to open it will be sharply resented. In spite of these difficulties I think Chamberlain has tried to meet us fairly. Obviously there are limits beyond which neither he nor any British Minister can go and although I have read him your statement as to the object of Phenix’s trip and given him such assurances as I personally could, he evidently believes there should be a more exact definition of that object. I feel this should be done.

You state that you have read your 89 of June 5 to Howard. He has probably communicated its contents to the Foreign Office. Chamberlain is now in Geneva and on his return I believe he will wish to comment regarding it. Please instruct me as to my reply.

Houghton