800.51W89 Great Britain/372
Memorandum of a Conversation Between President Hoover, Secretary Stimson, and Secretary Mills, Held at the White House, December 13, 1932,11:45 a.m.
When I got to the White House, the President was alone. He asked me what I thought of the British note. I told him it was not very clear but that in the light of Mr. Neville Chamberlain’s speech the night before,9 I thought its meaning was quite clear, and that if we accepted the payment we could not be held to any conditions or commitments but only to notice that subsequently, at the discussions which we proposed to hold with them on the debt question, the British intended there to present the proposal that this payment should be regarded as a credit on the amount at which the debt was ultimately settled. The President had not seen the Chamberlain speech, but when I showed it to him he said that it very much clarified the situation. When Secretary Mills came in we had a long discussion, Mills taking the position that it would be better to have a further statement made making the matter absolutely clear. We discussed various ways by which this statement could be made and finally we decided that I should make a verbal statement to the British Ambassador and hand him an aide-mémoire of it which would refer to the Chamberlain speech and say that in view of this I was satisfied that the Secretary of the Treasury’s acceptance could not be interpreted as an acceptance of an amendment of the Debt Funding Agreement; also that this memorandum should not be published. I then came back to my Department; found the British Ambassador there on another matter; wrote out such a memorandum10 and, after we had talked, handed the memorandum to him, as shown in another aide-mémoire 10 on the subject.