765.84/1752: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Bingham) to the Secretary of State

513. At the request of the Foreign Secretary I called on him this afternoon and he told me that he had given further and careful consideration to the possibility of some form of action being taken by the signatories to the Kellogg-Briand Pact. To this end he thought three alternative courses presented themselves: first, a request by the League itself through the Committee of Sixteen set up today to the Pact signatories to take up this question; that he felt himself that possibly such action coining from the League might produce an unfavorable reaction in the United States as an attempt to secure action under the aegis of the League, to which objection would probably be raised in the United States. He said that he and his colleagues in the Government, mentioning Mr. Baldwin especially, were deeply grateful for the information which had been given them from Washington and for the action taken so far, and they wished to avoid any possibility of causing any unfavorable reaction in the United States.

The second alternative which had occurred to him was along the lines of conversations through the diplomatic representatives of the Pact signatories, with a view to discovering whether some independent action in support of the action taken by the League itself could be brought about. In this instance Sir Samuel Hoare left open for consideration [Page 773] the question of where the initiative for these conversations through diplomatic channels should lie.

His third alternative was the possibility of action initiated by the President of the United States and he said on this phase that he thought it had the advantage so far as the United States Government is concerned of being independent, either of the League or of Europe itself. He stated that he felt that some action by the Pact signatories would have great weight and value but again stressed his desire and the desire of his Government to avoid any act or statement, or even any suggestion, which would cause any unfavorable reaction in the United States.

He further said that he had received information today which led him to believe that Germany would be likely to follow any decision which might be reached by the American Government because he was informed, and he believed reliably informed, that Germany did not wish to be put in the position of supporting Italy; that while he thought Germany would resent any proposal coming from the League itself or any of its agencies he thought this would not be the case with any proposal originating with the United States Government.

I then conveyed to him the sense of the Department’s 293, October 9, 9 p.m.87 and he said that he fully understood the position outlined. He reiterated that he felt that some action taken by the Pact signatories would have great weight and that he hoped it might be possible for some move in this direction to be taken in the near future, and that he would be interested in learning any further views at as early a date as possible. In promising to convey the substance of his remarks, I most carefully refrained from in any way indicating how this suggestion would be regarded by the Department.

From this viewpoint I can see objections to any action being taken by us under the first or third of these alternatives.

  1. See footnote 47, p. 843.