033.5111 Laval, Pierre/4: Telegram
The Ambassador in France (Edge) to the Secretary of State
[Received September 21—5 p.m.3]
591. Department’s 455, 4 p.m., September 19; the Embassy’s No. 588, September 21, noon. As I pointed out in the final paragraph of telegram No. 588, the Prime Minister telephoned me this afternoon and stated that he had had a conference with the President of France following my visit to Laval this morning. Notwithstanding Laval’s many duties President Doumer advised him to go to the United States. Laval stated that the matter would be decided at the meeting of the Cabinet on Friday. In view of the public interest he later gave the following statement to the press:4
“Monsieur Pierre Laval received Mr. Walter Edge the American Ambassador this morning who transmitted to the President of the Council of Ministers an invitation from President Hoover to visit Washington.
Monsieur Pierre Laval begged Mr. Walter Edge to express to President Hoover his thanks for his cordial invitation.
He agreed with the President of the United States that an interview of this nature was desirable and would lend itself to the examination of all the grave problems whose solution at the present time must be facilitated by direct conversations.
Although at the present juncture Monsieur Pierre Laval did not feel himself at liberty to give a final reply, he took the occasion to stress the satisfaction with which French opinion would learn of President Hoover’s invitation.”
With reference to the Embassy’s telegram No. 588, when the Prime Minister expressed his belief that he could not visit the United States at this time, I did not extend a formal invitation; but I merely stated how pleased the President would have been if he had learned that the visit could be arranged. This was repeating the substance of your telegram No. 455. In view of the possibility now that the Prime Minister [Page 240]may visit the United States and in view of my qualified conversation with Laval based mostly upon newspaper gossip, it might be in order if the Department extended an official invitation before the meeting of the Council of Ministers on Friday.