500.C1112/32: Telegram

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

362. 1. Secretariat officials are not yet aware of any definite plan for the discussions in the Second Committee following the announcement respecting French devaluation.18 Loveday19 thought the British genuinely wished to be helpful and would follow the French lead as far as possible.

Stoppani feels that emphasis should be placed on the following points: (1) that this is a first step which should be followed by removing as quickly as possible the restrictions on trade; (2) the necessity of encouraging the small “weak” countries in such an endeavor; (3) the necessity for an atmosphere of good will in which the foregoing can be carried out.

Charron20 and Loveday agreed with this and the latter added that it was also important that the French move be well received abroad.

2. On a purely personal basis I was told by a friend that Morrison,21 who is here with the British delegation, had remarked to him that today’s three power financial move had in it also the political motivation [Page 461] of forming a group “which would make the Fascisti block behave”. I was asked if Washington had such political aims in view. I replied that in my opinion our announcement was purely to assist international economic rehabilitation in which of course our own interests were involved. Morrison’s remark may easily have been a casual and careless private expression, but I am reporting it as I do not consider it as impossible in the abnormally charged political atmosphere of Geneva that something of this type may emerge as corridor rumor and be reflected in the press.

  1. See tripartite statement issued September 25, p. 560.
  2. Alexander Loveday, Director of the Financial Section and Office of Economic Studies, League of Nations Secretariat.
  3. René Charron, financial expert, League of Nations Secretariat.
  4. William Shepherd Morrison, financial secretary to the British Treasury, and member (substitute) of the British delegation to the seventeenth League of Nations Assembly.