800.51W89 Great Britain/407

Memorandum by the Secretary of State

I sent for the British Ambassador and he came at 5:45 p.m. I told him that I was authorized by Mr. Roosevelt to extend through him to Great Britain an invitation to send representatives here by the fourth of March to take up the discussion of the debt between our two countries as soon as possible after Mr. Roosevelt’s inauguration. I handed the Ambassador a memorandum, a copy of which is attached. I told him that that memorandum contained about all I had to say. But I called his especial attention to the second paragraph, saying I felt responsible that there should be no misunderstanding on the part of the British as to Mr. Roosevelt’s expectation that they should send, at the same time, representatives prepared to discuss the other matters mentioned therein besides debts. Sir Ronald asked me what was defined by these other matters and whether they included “gold.” I said that I would not try to give the full content of what had been expressed in the memorandum in general language, but would leave that to their own interpretation or to further inquiries, and I said that he could understand my reluctance to assume to interpret Mr. Roosevelt’s words any further. The Ambassador went away expressing great gratitude for what he asserted I had done in the matter.

H[enry] L. S[timson]

The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Lindsay)


In our previous correspondence on this subject the British Government has expressed a desire for a discussion in the near future of the debts owed by that government to the United States. I am authorized by Mr. Roosevelt, the President-elect, to say that he will be glad to receive at Washington a representative or representatives of the British Government for that purpose early in March, as soon as possible after his inauguration.

Mr. Roosevelt wishes it to be understood that any discussion of the debts which the British Government may wish to bring up must be [Page 829]concurrent with and conditioned upon a discussion of the world economic problems in which the two Governments are mutually interested, and therefore that representatives should also be sent at the same time to discuss the ways and means for improving the world situation.