500.C1112/81: Telegram (part air)

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

487. Consulate’s 480, November 24, 5 p.m. The German Consul General inquired of me today as to the attitude of the United States toward an inquiry into the question of raw materials with particular reference to our participation in the proposed League committee. I told him that while I naturally followed all such projects here with interest I had no knowledge as to Washington’s attitude.

He then informed me that he had been instructed by Berlin to report on what might take place in Geneva in this matter and in our talk presented an aspect of the picture somewhat different from that set forth in my telegram under reference. He stated that his Government was interested in such an activity presumably to the extent [Page 479] of participating and that although it would definitely be difficult for Germany to take part in a League body such a possibility was not necessarily excluded. It would nevertheless in respect of a League body be easier if the meetings took place outside of Geneva and that the British being the proponents of the idea London came naturally to mind.

He imparted to me that he had been specifically instructed not to discuss Germany’s possibly favorable attitude toward this matter with the Secretariat and that he was not to be responsive to any soundings by the Secretariat on this score. He stated that Berlin felt that the first move should come to them from the British through the diplomatic channel. He clearly implied that Berlin was surprised that this had not yet occurred inasmuch as Berlin believed that London had opened this question in some manner with Washington and Tokyo. He confirmed the impression that Japan was willing to participate in a League committee for this purpose.