033.5111 Laval, Pierre/3: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Edge) to the Secretary of State


588. Department’s No. 455, 19th of September, 4 p.m. I conferred this morning with the Prime Minister. Last night, Laval had issued a statement, which, however, did not appear in the Paris English language newspapers. According to this statement, it would be impossible for Laval to visit the United States at this time. My engagement with Laval was arranged for 9:30 this morning and prior to the time that the Embassy was aware of the publication of this statement. I took advantage of the opportunity, however, to express to the Prime Minister how happy Mr. Hoover would be if the newspaper reports were true and the visit could be arranged. The President was of the opinion, I continued, that such an opportunity for personal acquaintance and discussion would be of the greatest value. Supplementing the statement which he had issued to the press, the Prime Minister explained in detail how impossible it was from a practical standpoint to leave at this time. The circumstances involved are: the general situation in France; his visit to Berlin at the end of this week; the preparations for the convening of Parliament toward the end of October; and the necessity of his being here during the cantonal elections which take place about October 18. He expressed himself as “deeply touched” with the sentiments of the President. The Prime Minister understood, of course, why I did not extend a formal invitation.

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Since I have dictated the preceding statements, the Embassy has received a personal telephone call from Laval who requested that you not be notified of any final decision of his until he has an opportunity to confer with President Doumer. Laval stated that he will communicate with me further tomorrow or tonight. He has requested, too, that, in the meantime, nothing be given to the press.