800.51W89 Rumania/222

Memorandum by the Counselor of Embassy in France (Wilson)53


M. Alexandre Zeuceanu, Rumanian financial representative in Paris, whom I have known since the days of the Reparation Commission, came in to see me. He said that he had received instructions from his Government to inquire from our Embassy what the attitude of the American Government was regarding the possibility of negotiating a new settlement of the war debts. He referred to reports of conversations which Ambassador Bullitt had had with M. Delbos on the question [Page 598] of the French war debt to the United States, and asked whether any definite proposal had been submitted to us by the French.

I said that on the general question of the war debts, the attitude of our Government, so far as I knew, remained that set out in the notes sent to the French Government semi-annually transmitting a statement of indebtedness and adding that we were prepared to consider any proposal which the French Government desires to submit to us with a view to laying such a proposal before the Congress. I said that, as regards the recent conversations between Ambassador Bullitt and M. Delbos, there had been a vast amount of exaggeration in the press; that these conversations had been of a very general character and that no definite proposition had been submitted to us.

M. Zeuceanu then said he had heard that in these conversations at the French Foreign Office, Ambassador Bullitt had made a statement regarding the necessity of fulfilling certain prior conditions before any discussion of the debt agreements might take place, and he pulled out of his pocket a sheet of paper from which he read to me a statement about as follows: that Ambassador Bullitt had stated that it would be necessary to make payment to date in full of all arrears due under the debt agreement before the American Government would give any consideration to the possibility of negotiations regarding the debt agreement. M. Zeuceanu asked me if Mr. Bullitt had in fact stated this to be the position of our Government. I said that I felt that I could assure him that Mr. Bullitt had not made any such statement as this. On the contrary, the attitude of our Government, to which I had referred as set out in our notes to the French Government, had stated our willingness to consider with a view to laying before Congress any proposal which the French Government might desire to make.

M. Zeuceanu said that he appreciated this information, which he would transmit in confidence to his Government. He said that he did not know the exact purpose which his Government had in mind in asking him to discuss these points with the Embassy, but he assumed that his Government was undertaking a study of the war debt question with a view to making some proposal.

M. Zeuceanu said that of course what the French Government wanted was to be able to borrow again in the American market, as their borrowing possibilities in France were practically exhausted and the Treasury would shortly be in need of funds as well as being faced with a heavy deficit next year. I said that the idea that an interest was being shown in the possibility of a debt settlement in order to satisfy the requirements of the Johnson law so that the American market might be opened for further loans, had indeed occurred to us.

[The omitted part of the memorandum relates to Rumanian armament purchases in France.]

Edwin C. Wilson
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Ambassador in France in his despatch No. 202, December 15; received December 30.