462.00 R 296/2383: Telegram

The Chargé in Germany (Poole) to the Secretary of State


198 … S. Parker Gilbert, Agent General of Reparations, is actively studying the situation since the conversations recently at Geneva and today very confidentially told me that there is a definite possibility, he thinks, of an expert commission similar to that of 1924 being summoned next month. He … believes that at Paris there is a thorough disposition to effect at this time a final settlement of reparations, and he thinks from previous talks that Poincaré12 may direct the movement and give force to it. Gilbert hopes that, while opposition may be expected from London, better counsel will prevail there with Baldwin13 in charge if both France and Germany proceed in the right way. A conclusive, concrete development now is not likely, but it may follow in a fortnight, according to Gilbert. He emphasized his desire to inform the Department through this Embassy of the situation. Action not unacceptable to the United States nor disturbing American domestic politics is possible, he feels.

A summary of the German Government’s present attitude has been given me as follows:

To sit tight while Gilbert and Paris take the lead. Maturing French war stocks debt to the United States, the Germans feel, offers a splendid opportunity for a settlement, but, relying greatly on Gilbert, they are prepared now to follow his leadership.
The French suggestion of bilateral negotiations has been resisted, and the Germans prefer a meeting of experts as in 1924 rather than a diplomatic conference and have the impression that invitations to private American citizens will not be objectionable to the United States Government.
As a means of repressing German industrial rivalry, they believe the British prefer continuing the present regime but will hesitate to obstruct a general movement in the direction of settlement.
Reparations and interallied debts, the Germans are convinced, must be kept apart.

The above I have not repeated to Paris or London.

  1. Raymond Poincaré, President of the French Council of Ministers.
  2. Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister of Great Britain.