The Private Secretary to the British Prime Minister (Vansittart) to the Secretary of State
Dear Mr. Secretary: As we were leaving you asked me to send you a line on the Ottawa sequel to the Washington conversations. I take this first opportunity of doing so. We have still one more day here, but I expect you will be glad of early information since, owing to the fact that Mr. MacDonald’s speech had to be delivered on the very day of his arrival it was not possible to cover much ground. No doubt Campbell gave you my advance message to this effect. I telephoned to ask him to do so. Since then there has been a little more time, and Mr. MacDonald has been able to give Mr. Mackenzie King a full account of the Washington proceedings, including of course the paragraphs which the President wished to add in regard to ships laden exclusively with foodstuffs. I may say that the idea of exempting foodships has been received here with a great deal of interest and will be examined in Ottawa as we promised it should be examined in London. You will have noticed also that Mr. MacDonald in his speech went a step ahead in foreshadowing the joint examination provided for in the first of the eliminated paragraphs.
The Prime Minister also discussed the question of the naval stations. It is, I think, clear from further close examination that the plan for the division of the world into two hemispheres will not be workable, and we shall have to think out some other way of laying the ‘ghost’ of the so-called menace of the naval stations.
The Canadian Government are willing in principle to announce simultaneously and jointly with us that their naval stations are not, and are not intended to be, a menace to the United States. This, [Page 37]however, could only be done if the same statement were made reciprocally by the United States. If this is, in your view, impossible, the agreement would then be confined to the Caribbean area. The wording of this statement would as arranged be settled between us. Mr. Ramsay MacDonald will go into this matter immediately upon his return to London.
The intentions of the Canadian Government in regard to the refusal of clearance to vessels carrying liquor to the United States we found to agree with the last paragraph of the President’s memorandum sent to me by Akerson on October 10th; and an announcement will be made in due course by the Canadian Government of the action it proposes to take.
I am [etc.]