551.5F1/96: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan ( Forbes )


78. Agitation continues throughout the United States for an international conference on the silver problem. We feel that much good may be derived from such a meeting if the discussions were limited to the technical side of the case. This Government is of the opinion that it ought not to sponsor such a meeting; and because of the factors which involve India, Great Britain is apparently unwilling to do so. The leading Japanese delegate (Kenkichi Kagami) to the recent Washington meeting of the International Chamber of Commerce recently spoke of the importance of silver stabilization to Japan. In [Page 615] reference to the speech, the Under Secretary of State conversed with the Japanese Ambassador on the likelihood of his Government extending invitations to a conference. Mr. Debuchi was positive of the keen interest of Japan in the idea. Whether it was ready to assume the responsibility for calling a meeting was doubtful. To his query whether the United States would send delegates, if Japan took the initiative, the Under Secretary replied in the affirmative. You ought to know our position on this subject. We do not, however, want you to discuss it with the Foreign Office. The core of the problem lies in the Orient; that is where the conference ought to be held. Because it is not a silver producing country and consequently could not be said to have ulterior designs, we favor Japan rather than China to issue the call for a conference. If the latter should be held in the Orient, the chances of limiting discussion solely to the silver question would be excellent. Such might not be the case in Europe.

If the Foreign Minister or any other official should approach you on the subject, it would be your cue not to discourage but to venture your own opinion why Japan might well act as host to a conference.