800.51W89 Great Britain/409

Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The British Ambassador brought me the annexed note from his Government.15 After I had read it through, he said, “You will notice that in the note there is an implicit distinction between discussions and decisions.” He then pointed out the reason was that his Government felt that inasmuch as the coming World Economic Conference was to be attended by many nations, there might be adverse feeling aroused if it were thought that two of the nations were going to enter into binding agreements upon subjects coming up in that conference beforehand. I replied that I had recognized the possibility of such a danger and I thought the language in the aide-mémoire which I had given him last week had guarded against that in designating these world economic problems as ones “in which the two Governments are mutually interested.”

I then said that as the Ambassador must recognize, while I could not speak with authority as to Mr. Roosevelt’s views, I thought that there might well be some economic and monetary subjects on which Mr. Roosevelt would desire to have assurance as to the position of the British Government before he made a definite decision as to the British debt. The Ambassador said he could understand that.

He told me that it was the intention of his Government to give this note to the press for publication in tomorrow morning’s newspapers.

H[enry] L. S[timson]
  1. Infra.