765.84/2823: Telegram (part air)

The Consul at Geneva (Gilbert) to the Secretary of State

629. Stevenson, head of the British delegation to the Experts Committee which is in session here, called on me and stated that he had two questions to ask as to the American position (1st) respecting the date of the meeting of the Committee of Eighteen and, (2d) as to the possible action of that Committee in respect of an extension of the embargo against Italy on raw materials especially petroleum.

I replied that his inquiry seemed to me to suggest a misconstruction of American policy in that the United States could not take a “position” on matters which were solely within the competence of the League and that this misconception which in fact had also unfortunately appeared in the press might easily lead to misunderstandings harmful both to the United States and the League.

As to the general American policy in respect of its attitude toward the conflict, I felt that Washington had been at great pains to express it in a series of public statements which had received the widest publicity and which seemed to me to speak for themselves. I then took the opportunity to discuss the situation along the general lines of the second paragraph of my 625, November 29, 2 p.m.

Stevenson said that he would see me again and would be glad to elucidate any action taken by the Committee of Experts which their published material might not render entirely clear to me. I thanked him for his offer. I may say that should the Department have in mind any form which the Committee of Eighteen’s action might take here in its bearing on the carrying out of our own policy (my 625, 5th paragraph) I feel that in the natural course of future informal conversations I might be able to emphasize excerpts of our general position in a manner which rendering it more fully understood here might facilitate the pursuance of our own course of action.