Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Phillips)

This morning I handed the German Ambassador this aide-mémoire38 with respect to American holders of German bonds. I read it to him and explained the President’s great interest in the whole subject; I told him that the President had sent for me yesterday afternoon to impress upon me his concern and I also informed the Ambassador, for his confidential information, that the President had himself drafted the final paragraph of the aide-mémoire; the President, I said, had added that he felt sure that I could impress upon the Ambassador his, the President’s, great interest and concern, but that if, in addition, the Ambassador felt that his position would be strengthened by having the message direct from the President, he, the President, would be glad to receive him. Mr. Luther replied that I had made it quite clear, but that since the President had himself suggested the visit, the Ambassador would be very glad to respond at any time at the President’s convenience.

Mr. Luther went on at length to discuss the whole financial problem involved, in a most technical manner; he insisted that our communication was founded on a mistaken view point and that actually there was no discrimination whatsoever in favor of the creditors of other nations as compared with American creditors; he insisted that the British well understood this point and referred to a press cable in the New York Times of three or four days ago from London on the departure of the British delegation to the meeting of bankers on the 22nd instant, which confirmed his impression that London fully understood the German Government’s position. He admitted, however, that to explain the German position to the American public so as to convince them that there was no discrimination against them would be a difficult task, but he conveyed the impression at least that that task was up to us rather than to the German Government.

William Phillips
  1. Infra.