500.A15A4/954: Telegram

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

99. For Norman Davis. Your 48, March 31, 2 p.m. Referring to the paragraph marked strictly confidential the President may desire to give consideration to the fact that the relative apathy among the American people regarding this Conference is rather advantageous in that it will render negotiations at this end much simpler than if their expectations were too high or their interest unduly stimulated at this time. It may well be that within a short time it will be most important for the President to give guidance to public opinion on certain phases of the subject, and although I realize that we are not fully aware of the situation at home, I am reluctant to see him use his great influence now, when it will undoubtedly be necessary at a fairly early date.

In any event I question the wisdom of giving part of the story of his formula, because it cannot be revealed to prove its effectiveness except by a full statement, Avhich is obviously not the sort of pronouncement for the President to make. You will remember yourself how little impressed we all were with the idea until the production of the table which enabled us to see its real implications. This objection would be even more true of any general pronouncement made by the President because anything he says will be seized upon by all the amateur calculators who will get to work to give highly colored versions of the implications of the formula. As regards the statement that further consideration must be given as to the time and method for presenting the formula you will remember that it is already on the agenda for early consideration, in fact it is the fourth item and in [Page 70] all probability will in normal course come up for consideration within the first week after the convening of the Conference.

We have thoroughly ventilated the whole subject of the Mowrer story. While there was some indiscretion on the part of a junior member of the delegation he had real grounds for misunderstanding the situation and inasmuch as the story was played down I have not thought it necessary to make, any further reports to the Department. I am convinced that this episode has had one very useful effect in impressing the necessity for scrupulous discretion on all members of the delegation.