811.113 Senate Investigation/237

Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Phillips)

The French Ambassador handed me the accompanying informal letter10 to the Secretary containing the protest of his Government against the proposed investigation by the Nye Committee of the records concerning loans to France during the war, which are now in the archives of the Central Hanover Bank and Trust Company of New York. The Ambassador told me that his Government had been in touch with the British Government on this subject and that both governments felt alike; for obvious reasons the Ambassador said he had not mentioned this fact in his letter to the Secretary.

The Ambassador made a strong appeal that steps could be taken, especially at a time when the European situation was so involved, to prevent public controversies and discussions which might result from the publication of the documents in question; his Government, he added, was not in any way concerned with regard to the propriety of the transactions themselves, but was deeply concerned with respect to the construction which the public might place upon them at this time.

I told the Ambassador that the Secretary had received assurances from the Nye Committee that there would be no publicity involved in the matter. Mr. de Laboulaye replied that the moment the documents came into the possession of the Committee, he had no doubt that the press would somehow or other manage to get hold of them or their substance.

The Ambassador said that he would call upon the Secretary tomorrow morning and would discuss the matter personally with him.

William Phillips
  1. Supra.