462.00 R 296/2560: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Armour) to the Secretary of State

431. Reparation No. 152. The communiqué published last night regarding the Committee of Experts was a textual reproduction of the Poincare-Von Hoesch agreement, telegraphed in my reparation No. 147, with an additional sentence at the end reading:

“Arrangements have been made by the six interested Governments with a view to determining the most appropriate method for obtaining the participation of American experts”.

This sentence was put in the communiqué in place of the detailed section concerning American participation, telegraphed in paragraph 2 of my reparation No. 145.22 (For explanation of this, see paragraph 2 [of] my reparation 150.22)

The terms of reference as appended to the agreement and telegraphed in paragraph 1 of my reparation 146 were not published but they are of course covered in paragraph 4 of the communiqué.

2. At the time of issuing this communiqué, Poincaré also issued an official statement reading as follows:

“The Government of the Republic, in an aide-mémoire of October 30th which will be published later, informed the other creditor powers and Germany of the conditions to which it will subordinate its adherence to any plan of settlement. These conditions are those which the Minister for Foreign Affairs set forth at the Geneva Conference and which the President of the Council of the Empire [Republic] stated in his address at Chambéry and Caen.”

The statement recalled the essential of the Caen speech as follows:

“In any negotiation concerning our claim on Germany we have not the right either to abandon blindly our guarantees or accept an arrangement which would not have the effect of assuring us, together with the means, for providing for integrally our own debts a just indemnity for our reparations.”


3. From the foregoing paragraph 2, you will note that Poincare in making public the agreement of the setting up of the committee seems to have felt that he should restate publicly the attitude of the French Government relative to the reparation settlement. The other Governments will presumably now do the same thing. In connection with the 3d paragraph of Gilbert’s message sent to you this morning in my reparation 151,22 it occurs to me that, should you decide against making [Page 880] a formal reservation, you might consider some such procedure as has been followed in the present case by Poincare. In other words, when you agree to our participation, you might release a press announcement to the effect that the American Government had the understanding that this was to be a settlement of the reparations question on its merits and that the debts owed the United States Government by European countries would, of course, not in any way enter into the discussion.

  1. Telegram in two sections.
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