462.00 R 296/2494

Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The German Ambassador called to see me this morning and left with me a memorandum delivered by the German Government to the French, Belgian, British, Japanese and Italian Governments. The memorandum is as follows:

[Page 875]

[Here follows text of memorandum printed on page 872.]

After the delivery of this document, the French Government and the British Government made representations to the German Government along the following lines—the French Government stated that it would have to receive sufficient reparations to pay its obligations to Great Britain and the United States[,] and Great Britain stated that it must insist on the principles of the Balfour note17 which was that Great Britain was to receive enough money from reparations and foreign obligations to it to pay the United States. The German Government got no statement from Belgium or Italy or any of the other countries.

After the delivery of these statements to the German Government, the German Government delivered to Great Britain and France a memorandum as follows:

“The German Government has taken cognizance of the Aide Memoire wherein the French Government has notified the governments in London, Rome and Brussels of its views concerning the settlement of the Reparation question.

It has furthermore taken cognizance of the declaration made verbally to the German Ambassador in Paris stating that the questions raised in its Aide Memoire will in no way be regarded by the French Government as an instruction to the Experts Commission.

The German Government is of the opinion that, whereas the appointment of an experts’ commission was agreed upon in Geneva, the moment for discussing the material settlement of the reparations question will not have arrived until the conclusions of the Experts Commission have been presented to the governments concerned. In the face of the point of view taken by the French Government the German Government must, therefore, reserve to itself freedom of action in every respect and confines itself at present to emphasizing the general principle that a definite settlement of the Reparations question will only be possible if such solution will allow Germany to fulfil its obligations permanently out of its own economic resources and without thereby endangering the standard of living of the German people”.

The German Ambassador said that so far as these memoranda were concerned, Germany seemed satisfied because several Allied countries did not insist that their statements to Germany as to the amount of reparations they must receive would be made an instruction to the experts on the Commission. He said that another question had now arisen—whether the experts were to be named by the Reparations Commission or by the several governments. Germany insisted the appointment should be made by the governments and Great Britain agreed with her. One of the reasons why Germany insists on this is [Page 876] that she has no representative in the German Reparations Commission. This matter has not yet been settled. … He believed, however, that when the reparations experts were appointed, they would ask the United States to have two appointed from this country.