851.5151/975a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in France (Wilson)

359. For Cochran from the Secretary of the Treasury. For your guidance in the continuation of your discussions with the Minister of Finance, I would like to confirm and re-state more fully my statement on the position of this Government as explained to you over the telephone Thursday night and Friday morning.

It is our understanding that statements by the three Governments will be made only when the specific limits of a mutually acceptable alignment of the three currencies have been determined. If I read the British reply to the French note correctly, the British Treasury has the same expectation.

In considering the most practical way of advancing with the matter it seems to us that what should be envisaged is not a joint statement bearing the signatures of officials of the three Governments, but rather that the three Governments simultaneously issue statements, each of the statements being in the form of a declaration on its part. From the account of your conversations of Friday, I understand that this procedure is agreeable to the French Government.

For greatest effectiveness it is desirable that the three statements be as nearly identical as possible in all fundamental points. Otherwise they may leave an impression of divergence of policy instead of the impression of harmony of policy and of close cooperation, upon which so much of the effectiveness of the whole move depends. It is my judgment that there should be no variations. The more complete the identity, the more effective the impression will be and the more satisfactory the results achieved.

In the text of the French draft there are several points, both of phraseology and content, which from our point of view would require elimination or modification. The most important of these I touched upon in our telephone conversations. It is nevertheless apparent that there exists an ample basis for that substantial identity of statements necessary to assure that the French action would have a healthy and stabilizing influence throughout the world. Under the circumstances of the moment, the statement should be restricted solely to points essential for that purpose and should avoid raising matters not immediately essential and on which an actual or apparent divergence of views might possibly develop.

In an effort to facilitate the formulation of mutually satisfactory statements, I suggest herewith the terms of such a statement as this Government would be prepared to make. I have attempted to incorporate [Page 554] and build upon those elements in the French and English presentations with which all three Governments are, I feel, in complete accord.

“The United States Government, after consultation with the Governments of France and of Great Britain, joins them in an affirmation of a common desire to safeguard peace and to foster those conditions which will best contribute to the restoration of order in international economic relations. It shares with these other countries a common will to pursue a policy tending to promote prosperity in the world and improve the standard of living of the people.

It is, and has long been, the purpose and constant effort of the American Government to maintain reasonable stability of the dollar in international exchanges, and thereby to contribute to general exchange stability. The American Government is convinced that a continuance of this policy will serve the general purposes which all Governments should share. Each Government in the continued development of the policy and decisions in the field of international currency relationships will of course always give full consideration to the requirements of its national prosperity.

The French Government has now decided to proceed to realign its currency on a basis which will establish a more solid foundation for the increase of international stability in the interest of peace and commerce. The American Government takes this occasion to reaffirm its intention of using appropriate available resources in behalf of stability in international exchange on the new basis, and will collaborate with the Governments of France and of Great Britain for this purpose.

We hope for and invite the collaboration of other nations in the achievement of the program formulated in this statement and we sincerely trust that no nation will attempt to derive an unreasonable competitive exchange advantage and thereby threaten to disrupt the international stability which the Governments of Great Britain, France, and the United States seek to promote.”

  • [Morgenthau]
  • Hull