462.00R294/695: Telegram

The Ambassador in Germany (Schurman) to the Secretary of State

209. From Wilson.

Had first meeting this morning with Ritter and presented draft agreement.67 It will require a day or so for the Government services to examine the document, and we shall then begin detailed discussion. He volunteered the statement, however, that he thought we should have no difficulty except in connection with a postponement, or rather safeguard, clause. He referred to the provisions of the Young Plan regarding the special advisory committee as constituting a “revision clause” and said German opinion attached great importance to this and he hoped similar provisions could be embodied in our agreement.

[Page 1088]

[Paraphrase.] In reply I said that this was the first time I had ever heard anything about a “revision clause” in the Young Plan and that I did not believe the passage in question was regarded in that light by other people. Ritter agreed that it was not so regarded in other countries but repeated that public opinion in Germany attached the utmost importance to the possibilities of this clause. I told him it was my personal opinion that the United States would find any such clause unacceptable; that what we were endeavoring to do was, so far as possible, to give Germany the advantages of an arrangement on the lines of agreements which we had concluded with other countries; we should, in fact, be reducing the amount of our claims by accepting payment under the Young schedule and it could not be expected that we would agree to anything such as a “revision clause”; we had refused this in connection with our other debt agreements. However, it is my impression that the Germans will go the limit in trying to have our agreement contain a reference to the special advisory committee provided for in the Young Plan or to insert some similar provision in our agreement. [End paraphrase.]

In view of the insistence of press correspondents it was agreed that a brief statement would be given out by the Foreign Office and the Embassy to the effect that discussions concerning special agreement had been begun today in Berlin. It was also agreed that no further communication would be made to the press. [Wilson.]

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