Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Bundy) of a Conversation With the British Ambassador (Lindsay)
The British Ambassador called with respect to the Shipping Bills. He stated that as a result of the conversation with me on March 2nd, in which I suggested that the shipping lines interested might work the matter out between themselves and that possibly he would wish to consult with the British interests, he had conferred with the Cunard Line and apparently urged them to reach some amicable agreement. He stated that he wrote several stiff messages to London to bring the home office of the Cunard into line. Negotiations have been carried on and the Cunard was apparently willing to drop the passenger traffic to Cuba.
The Ambassador is now very much exercised over the fact that Mooney and the American interests are insisting that the Cunard also drop all other cruises lasting less than seven days. The Ambassador seemed to think that negotiations would probably break down and Mooney was threatening that legislation would be carried through, at least with respect to the “Fighting Ship” Bill. The Ambassador stated that he was very irate over having injected himself into a situation to attempt to reach an amicable arrangement only to find that the American interests were completely unreasonable in their terms.
I stated to the Ambassador that I had not followed the negotiations and had taken no part in them and that I had not intended to do more than suggest the advisability of an amicable adjustment if possible. I stated that I would confer with the Secretary of Commerce to see whether there is anything constructive that we could do to help in the situation. I told the Ambassador that the Bills had apparently been slowed up in their legislative career and that some people felt that the Bills would not pass the House. However, I said I could make no predictions in this matter.