641.0031/60: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in the United Kingdom (Atherton)

214. Your 281, May 26, 11 p.m. You should seek the earliest possible opportunity to present the following memorandum to the British Government.

“The Government of the United States of America is gratified to learn that the British Government would be glad to declare and to reaffirm at an early and suitable opportunity the principles embodied in its memorandum on British commercial policy handed to the American Ambassador on May 26, 1936.

“We feel that a declaration by the British Government along these lines would be of the greatest value in checking the steady increase and in furthering the reduction of obstacles to international trade on the part of the important trading nations of the world. It seems [Page 669] to this Government that the present offers a particularly opportune moment for such a declaration, or indeed even a stronger one along these general lines, if the British Government should feel disposed to do so. It is clear to us that much of the political tension existing throughout the world is in the final analysis directly traceable to the dislocation of world trade by innumerable trade barriers and a consequent fear on the part of nations that they will no longer be able to maintain even their present standards of living. It is therefore important that the great trading nations of the world should utilize this unusually propitious moment to crystallize world sentiment in the direction of economic sanity and to create new hope for a troubled world. In face of the struggle of individuals and peoples against the slowing down of international commerce a definite leadership by the important nations is needed to restore opportunities for trade and thus prevent a prolongation and intensification of existing fear and discouragement.”