Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Phillips)

During his call this afternoon the British Ambassador referred to a report which he had just received from the Foreign Office of the conversation which Sir Samuel Hoare had had with Ambassador Bingham before the latter sailed for this country.

It was apparent that Sir Samuel had been very much touched by Mr. Bingham’s reference to the President’s personal interest in the Ethiopian crisis. At any event, the report of the conversation included two references to Sir Samuel’s satisfaction in knowing of the President’s interest.

The Ambassador went on to say that, during the next week or two, possibly even at the end of this week, a real crisis might be reached in the negotiations now going on; in the event of such a development the Ambassador wondered whether the American Government would raise its voice again in the cause of peace; he said that the attitude of this country towards peace was a great moral force and he hoped that, at the appropriate moment, a message from this country might go forward in behalf of a peaceful solution of the problem.

I said that, while we were receiving a good deal of information from our representatives in Europe, from Geneva in particular, we were not getting much information from London or Paris or Rome which would give us any inside enlightenment as to what progress, if any, was being made towards a settlement; it was possible, therefore, that we might not know in advance when the crisis in the negotiations had been reached.

The Ambassador seemed to think that the Foreign Office ought to keep our Embassy closely in touch; the trouble with the matter was, in his opinion, that, when a crisis arose, the official in Chargé was so overwhelmed with the situation presented, he might be unable to inform the American Embassy until too late. However, it seemed to be evident that the Ambassador would do what he could to encourage the Foreign Office to keep closely in touch with our Embassy on this subject.

William Phillips