711.00111 Armament Control/Military Secrets/1023
Memorandum by the Chief of the Office of Arms and Munitions Control ( Green )
Mr. Scott Ferris, representing the Carp Export and Import Corporation, called me by telephone yesterday afternoon. He asked whether there had been any change in the attitude of officers in the Navy Department toward the construction of a battleship for the U. S. S. R. since our conversation on February 25.
I replied in the negative and said that, as far as I could determine, the attitude of the Navy Department had been explained clearly over and over again to the representatives of the interested companies, and that the allegations as to the attitude of certain naval officers which he had repeated to me in our conversation on February 25 must be based either upon exaggeration of casual remarks by subordinate officers or upon serious misunderstandings of what had been said. I said that the only means which occurred to me to clear up all of these misunderstandings was to bring the representatives of all the interested companies together at one time with representatives of the Department and of the Navy Department. I summarized the suggestion in regard to such a meeting which I had made to Admiral Holmes earlier in the day.89
Mr. Ferris said that he would discuss my suggestion with his principals and would call upon me this morning.[Page 678]
Mr. Ferris called at my office this morning. He said that, since our conversation yesterday afternoon, he had discussed the matter with the Soviet Ambassador and over the telephone with officers of the Carp Export and Import Corporation. He had asked the latter whether they would be willing to attend such a meeting as I had suggested with a view to clearing up all existing misunderstandings as to the attitude of the Government. They had immediately consulted Mr. Carp in Paris by telephone and had relayed to him Mr. Carp’s reply which was to the effect that he did not wish representatives of his company to attend such a meeting for the present but that he would give them further instructions later after he had discussed the whole situation in Moscow. Mr. Ferris said that Mr. Carp had added that he expected to return to this country with greatly increased authority as an agent of the Soviet Government and that, with this increased authority, he hoped to be able to put through the necessary contracts in short order.
In response to my questions, Mr. Ferris said that he could not hazard any explanation as to what additional authority Mr. Carp expected to receive or how any additional authority from the Soviet Government would be of assistance to him in carrying out his project of purchasing a battleship in this country.
I told Mr. Ferris that, in view of Mr. Carp’s attitude, I would take no further steps for the time being toward convening such a meeting as I had suggested with a view to clearing up the misunderstandings which were causing so much annoyance. I added that I wished him to understand fully that this suggestion of a meeting was my own suggestion, that I had not even discussed it with the Secretary or with Admiral Leahy, and that I did not know whether they would approve the idea in any case.
- Not printed.↩