551.5F1/26: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Dawes) to the Secretary of State


49. Department’s telegram No. 38, February 16, 5 p.m. The following reply from Prime Minister MacDonald was received today by me:41

“I have now had time to consult my colleagues on the paraphrased telegram from the Secretary of State in Washington, dated the 16th [Page 610] instant, regarding the calling of a silver conference. We heartily welcome the suggestion made by your President and would certainly be represented at such a conference. After a very careful survey of the situation, including both the interests involved and the reactions which will take place as soon as an announcement is made, we are strongly of opinion that the invitation should be issued by the President, and we would urge him to do so. If he would agree to this, but would conclude that Europe was the best place for holding it on account of the urgency of the matter and of the necessity of having a very strong European representation upon it, His Majesty’s Government would be only too glad to cooperate in helping to provide any of the facilities required.

We should also like to add this:

In the course of our examination we were very much impressed by the fact that the silver problem, important as it is, cannot very well be kept dissociated from general monetary and financial conditions which affect world prices and economic and industrial dislocation. At any moment a conference might find itself confronted by problems which, whilst felt in the silver situation, make that situation unsolvable whilst kept detached. I mention this because we should like to know if the President has been considering terms of reference and the scope of the deliberations of the conference. We think that that should be studied very carefully before final conclusions regarding a conference are reached. We should be glad if views of this subject were exchanged between us.”

  1. Quotation not paraphrased.