500.A15A4/1236: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Acting Chairman of the American Delegation (Gibson)

166. Your telephone conversation of yesterday and your 294, July 1, 6 p.m. We have been giving considerable thought to the problem you put up to us by telephone yesterday, namely whether you should force an early discussion of the President’s proposal.

The essential thing to remember is that we must avoid at the present moment any action that might eliminate the President’s plan from its position as the focus of public opinion in all nations. This elimination might be brought about (a) by an adverse vote on the principle of the plan, (b) by a weakening of its provisions by the introduction or passage of new and controversial features, (c) by the segregation of the naval problem or (d) by a discussion which would provoke or reveal such divergence of sentiment that the plan would appear to be unrealistic. We are also anxious to avoid any situation which might result in an adverse vote or expression on our proposals by the principal European powers, as this would probably result in a more uncompromising public opinion here.

Therefore you should not risk precipitating a general discussion if you feel that any of these results might follow. In any event, you should previously assure yourself of the attitude that Great Britain and France will take, in order that you can thus foresee in large measure the course and outcome of the debate. The question of whether any resolution you may present will require unanimous vote or only the vote of the majority may be the critical element in determining your policy. On this point your own knowledge of the situation must control.