The Consul at Geneva (Rand) to the Secretary of State
[Received 3:40 p.m.]
Referring to telegram 104, October 30, 6 p.m., from Legation at Berne. Eric Colban, back from Paris where he has seen Loudon, tells me that there is no intention on the part of Loudon of approaching the naval powers in regard to conversations preliminary to the meeting of the Preparatory Commission, because Loudon prefers to wait until the British Government replies to the American note concerning the Franco–British naval agreement. Colban added that to a certain extent the date of the next session of the Preparatory Commission would depend upon whether or not there were to be preliminary conversations and, therefore, upon the reply of the British Government. Apparently the initiative in this subject belongs to Great Britain rather than Loudon.
A source which is usually well posted informs me confidentially that the French and British Governments are discussing the date of the next session of the Preparatory Commission. The British favor January or early February whether private conversations are held beforehand or not. Officials of the French Government are in agreement except Paul-Boncour, who favors leaving the date of the session unsettled until divergencies on naval questions have been discussed, since he is afraid that the next session may not be successful without preparation of this sort.
Both Loudon and the French Government appear to prefer that the British take the initiative in approaching the American Government on the naval question.
Copy to Gibson by mail.