Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The French Ambassador came in to say that the French Government was very warmly pleased with the visit of Mr. MacDonald4 and that they considered it a great success. I thanked him and told him that I was especially glad to see him because of the confidential note which he had sent me a few days ago.5 I told him that that represented just the line of thought which I had been following, particularly the suggestion of the extension of the Pacific Treaty of the four powers6 to other parts of the world. I then reminded him of the difficulties which we found under the Kellogg-Briand Pact when we reminded China and Russia of their obligations thereunder, in that there was no machinery for investigation and for enlightening the public opinion of the world as to the controversy.

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I pointed out that in the Kellogg-Briand Pact, unlike the League of Nations, we had no sanction except the public opinion of the world and that I felt from my experience both in China and Russia and in regard to Bolivia and Paraguay, the importance of machinery which should be invokable by the parties themselves and also by outsiders when they would not invoke it. He said he agreed with me, recalling Mr. Coolidge’s analogy of plague in which outsiders were interested that it should not spread. I suggested that he ascertain Mr. Briand’s7 views on this subject and as to the possibility of taking further steps to achieve such machinery for arousing public opinion. He manifested great interest and said he would be glad to do so.

He asked me if I would give him an aide memoire. I told him I would be glad to draw one up as soon as possible and give it to him, but that I felt that the initiative in this really belonged to Mr. Briand because he was one of the authors of the Kellogg-Briand Pact and this was so closely related to the purpose of that Pact. The Ambassador asked whether I thought it should take the form of the extension of the Pacific Treaty or of the Kellogg-Briand Pact. I told him I had no conclusive views but that I thought that the latter pact was more in the thoughts of the world today and more popular than the Pacific Treaty; that, however, I should like to have Mr. Briand’s views on it. He asked whether I thought that such a treaty would not meet opposition in the Senate. I told him I could not go so far as to say that, but I thought it would be less likely to meet opposition than any other treaty because the MacDonald visit had stimulated great interest in the Kellogg-Briand Treaty.

In the course of his felicitations on the success of the MacDonald visit I said we should be very glad to welcome Mr. Briand in a similar manner and asked him whether he thought there would be any chance of Mr. Briand making such a visit. He seemed quite interested and said he thought there would.

  1. For correspondence concerning the British Prime Minister’s visit, see vol. iii, pp. 1 ff.
  2. Supra.
  3. Treaty signed at Washington, December 13, 1921, Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. i, p. 33.
  4. Aristide Briand, French Minister for Foreign Affairs.