Memorandum by the Secretary of State of a Telephone Conversation 17

I told Mr. Roosevelt that I had received the answer of the British,18 and I read their memorandum to him over the telephone. I told him what the British Ambassador had said as to the difference between decisions and discussions and also of my reply (see my aide-mémoire 19). The Governor expressed his great satisfaction with it and said that it was left, he thought, in a perfectly safe way.

He then said he had just been on the point of calling me up about the proposed note to the French20 which had reached him this morning. He told me that frankly the reaction which the note would make upon him if he had received it and had been an individual debtor, would be similar to that which might be expected when such a debtor had been unable to pay his debt on the date of maturity and then shortly afterwards found that his creditor had given it to protest. But he went on to say that he felt I knew a good deal more about it than he did and he was hesitant as to what to do. He repeated his query as to whether we could not sound out Claudel. I replied to him that on that subject I had received two telegrams from Edge21 whom we had asked to sound out public opinion in France after he (the Governor) indicated a desire to have that done, and I read to him over the telephone Edge’s cable No. 29, of January 24, [Page 834]4 p.m., and his No. 32, of January 25, 1 p.m.22 Mr. Roosevelt replied that the story mentioned in the second cable as coming from Warm Springs was merely a newspaper fabrication made up from his statement during his correspondence with President Hoover to the effect that any debtor should have a right at any time to come to his creditor. He then said he thought that for the present, in view of Edge’s statement in his cable No. 19 [29] as to the effect which the invitation to Italy might have upon France, it would be well “to let the matter simmer for a few days” until we could see what the effect of this would be. I said I would follow that course.

I then told him that I had learned only yesterday that he had not received the copy of the aide-mémoire 23 which I had given to the British Ambassador last Friday. I said I had given a copy to Mr. Moley which I supposed Mr. Moley had sent to him. He replied that he had heard from Moley but that Moley had forgotten to mail the copy. I told him that yesterday I had sent him the complete series of aide-mémoires in the cases of all of the countries to whom invitations had been extended. He asked me which those countries were and I told him, and included the fact that the Latvian representative was coming tomorrow and Finland’s had been here today. He expressed his satisfaction.

H[enry] L. S[timson]
  1. Between President-elect Roosevelt at Warm Springs, Ga., and the Secretary of State at Woodley (his residence), January 25, 1933, 2:30 p.m.
  2. Supra.
  3. Ante, p. 828.
  4. Post, p. 868.
  5. Walter E. Edge, Ambassador in France.
  6. Neither printed.
  7. Ante, p. 828.