551.5F1/155: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Wilson)

[Paraphrase]

101. Legation’s 109, August 26, 2 p.m., 110, August 28, 3 p.m., and 111, August 31, 2 p.m.56 We feel that all the Governments interested must be represented at a silver conference if any good is to be derived therefrom. The current price decline affects silver as it does other commodities. Because the principal use of silver is in connection with currency, the conviction persists among dealers and some financial experts that governmental action can and does affect the market. The reduced content of silver in small coins, a current European practice, and the building up of silver stocks by the Government of India as a result of its currency policy are generally regarded as chiefly responsible for the present condition of the market. Consequently, it would seem that stabilization of silver must be predicated upon cooperation among the several Governments involved. For some time past we have noted how the interest of the conservative British press in the subject has grown. We are of the belief therefore that the moment is at hand for positive international action. Such a procedure might materially benefit the British, especially insofar as their China trade and Indian policy are concerned. Furthermore, if Great Britain gave any indication of a willingness to cooperate in a project of such character her stock in the Far East and elsewhere would rise.

You and Davis have outlined a formula which, in our opinion, could indefinitely postpone the conference by submitting it to expert review. If you anticipate that the plan as a necessary preliminary step will expedite the calling of a conference, we heartily endorse it. If, on the other hand, it could possibly create a diversion of opinion for consideration of the question and prevent tangible results, the method does not meet with our approval.

The resolution of this problem lies, of course, in the present disposition of the British and other Governments toward it. Our suggestion is that you sound them out at Geneva on the Davis proposal. In order to direct our efforts where they will do the most [Page 627]good, we desire to have your conclusions as soon as possible. If for any reason you believe that to pursue this course would be unwise, you should immediately inform us.

The assistance which you and Davis have rendered is appreciated.

Castle
  1. No. 110 not printed.