The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Bingham)
375. As indicated in previous cable, the President and I felt that there are controlling reasons which necessitate having a special mission, headed by Norman Davis, to carry on the naval negotiations in the new phase in which they are developing and which it may not be possible to head up through the Embassy particularly in negotiations with the Japanese. This is reinforced by our belief that the conversations should be made tripartite as soon as possible in view of the necessity of dealing with basic principles before approaching technical questions. It is our intention, however, to assign Atherton to the Mission as an advisor and as liaison with the Embassy. This has seemed to us the best way to deal with the changed situation caused by the entry of the Japanese into the conversations but if you have any suggestions we will be glad to have them.
The setting up of a special mission raises a question with regard to yourself. Mr. Davis particularly desires to have the benefit of your counsel and cooperation as in the past,—a desire which the President and I fully share. Would you accordingly telegraph us (1) whether you would prefer us to designate you a member of the mission, [Page 309] or (2) whether you would prefer instead to keep in touch with the work taking part of course in any Anglo-American conversations or negotiations and acting in more of a consultative capacity in respect, to the general work of the mission. If you have any alternative suggestions to offer, please feel quite free to do so.