Memorandum by the First Secretary of Legation in the Netherlands (Wilson)8

Mr. Lamping asked me to come and see him and I went at eleven o’clock. He said that he wished to speak unofficially about certain matters in connection with the trade negotiations. He asked me if I knew how many times the Department of State had asked for postponement and I replied that while I did not have exact information, it was my impression that there had been two or three postpostments, probably due to the necessity of acquiring certain data, but that I felt certain the Department was anxious to go ahead as soon as possible. He then told me that the exchange of desiderata that was to have taken place in the middle of April had been once more postponed to the second week in May, thus making it appear that actual negotiations could not under any circumstances begin until June and probably not until July. He added that this made things very difficult for him, as both their commercial treaties with Italy and with France expired on June 30th and much of his time between now and then would be occupied, as it was at present, with the negotiation of new treaties with these two countries. The situation with regard to these two countries was naturally more urgent than it was with us, since six months of grace had been extended by us dating from May first. He then said that he thought it would be difficult, both on account of the heat and on account of vacations, to negotiate in Washington in July and August; furthermore, that if negotiations were held before that [Page 585] period, he would himself probably not be able to head the delegation and he felt that that would be unfortunate since he had been working with the question so long.

I said that I knew the Department was anxious to go ahead with the negotiation of trade agreements and that I did not believe that further postponement would be particularly pleasing. I added that I regretted that our delay had put him in a difficult position and that I hoped he would be able to head the delegation. I informed him that after consultation with Mr. Emmet a report of this conversation would probably be sent to Washington, but that it might be best if a delay was wanted to have the Legation in Washington inform the Department to that effect. He then showed me a Note from the Minister of Economic Affairs to Minister of Foreign Affairs de Graeff asking that such an instruction be sent to the Legation in Washington. This Note had not been signed as yet and I do not know whether it was subsequently sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs or not.

W. McK. W[ilson]

  1. Transmitted to the Department by the Minister in the Netherlands in his despatch No. 212, May 7; received May 17.