711.00111 Armament Control/Military Secrets/1050

Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The Soviet Ambassador called upon his own request. He first inquired whether I could do anything to facilitate the carrying forward of the proposed Russian purchase of a battleship in this country. I replied that I had been doing everything possible to aid in ironing out the difficulties; that there was something, however, holding it back which I could not put my finger on; that I had conferred with every official, high and low, who might have anything to do with the situation. He then inquired whether our Neutrality Act90 might [Page 679] prevent the delivery of the ship in case war should break out in the meantime. I replied that it might; that the Ambassador was perhaps as familiar with it as I. I added that his Government could take into consideration the present legal status of the matter and any other views relating to the possibility of modifying or relaxing the neutrality provisions in the future, even when difficulties are threatened abroad, provided to do so would forward the peaceful interests of this country. I then suggested to the Ambassador that he might desire to talk with Mr. Green about the ship proposal; that Mr. Green had all of the details. He agreed to do this.

C[ordell] H[ull]
  1. Approved August 31, 1935, as amended, May 1, 1937; 49 Stat. 1081, 50 Stat. 121.