500.A15A4 General Committee (Arms)/82: Telegram

The American Adviser (Mayer) to the Secretary of State

964. Department’s 467, January 16, 2 p.m. I saw Eden and spoke to him along the lines you authorized. He readily agreed saying that this was also his view.

Regarding the date itself Eden said that he wanted to be present the opening sessions of the Manufacture of and Trade in Arms Committee; that the first few days of February would be occupied with the Flandin–Laval conversations at London14 when among other things they were going to talk supervision with the French; that the British would need a few days thereafter for discussion among themselves. Eden added that he would like to speak to the French before a time was set and asked if it would be satisfactory to us for him to say now that so far as the British were concerned this date would be by the middle of February mentioning the 12th as possibly best from his point of view. I replied affirmatively expressing the hope that the date could be announced in the next few days.

I inquired whether Eden could tell me anything with regard to the larger negotiations concerning disarmament. He indicated that the British had not come to any definite opinion on this matter; that the multiplicity of other questions before the Council at the present time and their difficulty were absorbing attention. He added, however, confidentially that it was somewhat of a question in his mind whether the present was the psychological moment to begin negotiations with the Germans, that in view of the overwhelming victory in the Saar they might be less amenable now than later. Several of his “neutral” colleagues on the Council felt the same way and undoubtedly the French held this view. On the other hand he realized that from the British point of view, taking into consideration the feeling in his country, it was an excellent time to get things going. I have the impression that Eden thought that his Government took too optimistic a view of the situation and its immediate prospects.

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Parenthetically I learned from Marriner,15 in a telephone conversation this morning, that the French wish to discuss manufacture of and trade in arms questions with Wilson on his way through Paris as the general staff and others concerned there have been recently considering these matters very carefully.

  1. See British Cmd. 4798, Miscellaneous No. 1 (1935): Joint Communiqué … Conversations between the French and British Ministers in London, February 1st to 3rd, 1935.
  2. Theodore Marriner, Counselor of Embassy in France.