The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France ( Edge )
354. For Mr. Stimson. It is our opinion here that it would be not only unwise, but actually dangerous, for you to go on to Germany just now.56 There is a tendency to burden us with the responsibility of maintaining German credit. We cannot assume this responsibility. If you should go to Berlin now it would be interpreted as evidence that the United States will assume the leading role in providing Germany with whatever relief may be needed. The Federal Reserve Board is completely unwilling to do this, although American banking institutions would undoubtedly give sympathetic consideration to any well-reasoned scheme drawn up by the Central Banks of European countries. No plan of this nature was evolved yesterday at Basel. The tendency there was to refer the whole matter to the Governments concerned. Norman, of the Bank of England, even went so far as to propose a discussion of the whole question of reparations in a meeting of the heads of states. He would even include on the agenda a reconsideration of the Versailles Treaty57 and the Young Plan.58 We are very strongly of the opinion that the time is not right for such a general conference and that the results would be disastrous. However, we have told the British that we believe that a renewal of hope would be given if a meeting of responsible Ministers were held promptly and for the sole purpose of dealing with the present emergency. If such a meeting is held, the President will probably want you to be present. The time would presumably be the end of this week. I shall telegraph fully the President’s ideas as to what attitude you should take if the meeting is held and if it seems advisable for you to take part.