Memorandum by Jay Pierrepont Moffat of the Division of Western European Affairs
I had lunch today with Jules Henry of the French Embassy who expressed great appreciation of the frank way in which the Secretary had spoken to him yesterday concerning proposals at Geneva.
He said that Herriot’s political position in France was at the moment extremely precarious and that it was entirely possible that his Cabinet might fall in the very near future. If this were the [Page 253]case, he had had various indications that he would be succeeded by Caillaux who was rapidly becoming the real leader of the Radical Socialist group. Caillaux declined to join the present government on the ground that as president of the Finance Commission in the Senate he could more effectively support the present cabinet.
Henry reviewed then rather briefly Caillaux’s career pointing out how he had always been a protagonist of Franco-German rapprochement. If something could be done along this line, particularly with the German conservatives who have the same idea, France’s need for armaments would considerably diminish. He then referred to François-Poncet’s reports from Berlin which he said were masterly. In brief, François-Poncet has told his Government that nearly all the German conservative leaders are making a real effort to reach an agreement with France; they recognize the international situation in Germany is so involved that for ten years at least they will be entirely preoccupied with domestic adjustments rather than pursuing an active foreign policy; that meantime if France could help them to obtain some agreement with Poland on her eastern frontier, the way would be open for plain sailing. Some suggestions had even been made that a possible solution for the problem would be an exchange of population modeled on that between Greece and Turkey following the war of 1922.