Memorandum of Trans-Atlantic Telephone Conversation 11

Mr. Gordon: Hello, this is Gordon speaking.

Mr. Phillips: All right, this is Phillips speaking. The Secretary of State is glad to respond to the suggestion made by you this morning, that he issue a statement immediately for release in tomorrow morning’s papers along the lines indicated. You should make it clear, however, that he cannot issue such a statement unless you receive a definite assurance that the boycott will be called off. You will readily understand that the Secretary would be placed in a highly embarrassing position if, after issuing this statement, the boycott should commence. We shall, therefore, await a further message from you to the effect that the boycott will be called off before we issue the following statement. The statement is as follows:

“The situation in Germany is being followed in this country with deep concern. Unfortunate incidents have indeed occurred, and the whole world joins in regretting them. But without minimizing or condoning what has taken place, I have reason to believe that many of the accounts of acts of terror and atrocities which have reached this country have been exaggerated, and I fear that the continued dissemination of exaggerated reports may prejudice the friendly feelings between the peoples of the two countries, and be of doubtful service to anyone.

“I have been told that by way of protest measures are under consideration in certain American cities which would result in a partial boycott of German goods or other form of demonstration. Not only would such measures adversely affect our economic relations with Germany, but what is far more important, it is by showing a spirit of moderation ourselves that we are most likely to induce a spirit of moderation elsewhere.”

That is the end. How soon can you get a reply back to us?

Mr. Gordon: The Foreign Minister told me where to get him at dinner. I could be there in five or ten minutes. I can call you back in fifteen or twenty minutes hence.

Mr. Phillips: All right.

Mr. Gordon: I may say in the meantime that he told me that Sir John Simon12 had agreed to write a letter in this same sense, presumably to the German Ambassador in London, although that had not yet been settled, which together with this statement if made he assures me would bring about the calling off of the boycott.

Mr. Phillips: That is all right.

Mr. Gordon: But I will call him at dinner at once and will call you [Page 343] back in thirty minutes. I will put the call in now while I am going around to see him.

  1. Between Mr. Phillips in Washington and Mr. Gordon in Berlin, March 31, 1933, 4:35 p.m.
  2. British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.