500.A15A4/1498: Telegram

The Ambassador in Great Britain (Mellon) to the Secretary of State

283. Foreign Office issued following statement late last night:

“His Majesty’s Government have been in communication with the Governments of France, Germany and Italy for the purpose of ascertaining whether the difficulties which have arisen from Germany’s withdrawal from the Disarmament Conference could be made the subject of an exchange of views between them. The matter is still under consideration, but His Majesty’s Government have intimated that if that course were found feasible and were generally approved they would be willing to arrange a meeting for this purpose in London.”

I have reason to believe the Prime Minister has for some time been hoping to reconstruct similar informal discussions on disarmament to those held while Mr. Stimson was in Geneva last April but this unexpected statement issued by Simon immediately upon his return from Paris last night would tend to confirm the rumor that his views are more and more divergent from those of the Prime Minister who has been in Scotland all this week.

It is understood here that in his conversation with Simon yesterday Herriot did not definitely reject this British proposal but stated that any meeting held outside of Geneva he felt should not make decisions but simply submit recommendations.

The French Ambassador73 has informed me today that he does not believe this suggested meeting will take place at an early date if at all and that in any case in his opinion it would be a mistake unless preliminary diplomatic conversations in the various capitals had assured a successful outcome.

The German Chargé d’Affaires74 informs me von Bülow stated to the British Chargé d’Affaires75 who sent the invitation, that the recent French and British notes to Germany on disarmament did not offer a basis for any successful outcome of London Conversations and [Page 456]the German Government felt it would be unwise to accept the proposed London invitation unless a successful outcome were assured beforehand and to achieve this due consideration must be entertained for meeting Germany’s claim for equality in [armaments?]. British Chargé d’Affaires also stated to von Bülow I am informed, that the United States Government had been invited to send a representative.

Although it does not wish to be quoted Foreign Office has stated to foreign press correspondents this afternoon that no outcome is expected to result from this Foreign Office suggestion for London discussions.

Repeated to Norman Davis.

Mellon
  1. Aime Joseph de Fleuriau.
  2. Count Albrecht Bernstorff.
  3. Basil Cochrane Newton.