Memorandum by the Secretary of State
The Ambassador of Belgium came in without notice and with no particular business. He simply asked a few general questions about the economic drift with the result that we had some interchange of ideas not in any sense new. I, as usual in such conversations, emphasized the broad objective and the extreme necessity for the success of the economic program this country is supporting, as well as how vital I consider it that important countries, especially in Europe, do likewise; and that this offers the only alternative to a purely militaristic course. I said that peace-loving countries can increase their armaments for purely defensive purposes if they feel justified and are justified in doing so, while at the same time supporting our broad liberal [Page 12]program having for its twin objective the restoration of stable business conditions and conditions of permanent peace; that this country has been bearing the brunt in this fight; and that we have generalized our agreements and are continuing to do so, while most European countries are clinging to the cut-throat, bilateral method alone, and few of them are generalizing. I made one exception—the case of Belgium and her trade agreement with France. I concluded by earnestly emphasizing the importance of trading countries in Europe carrying forward this program in its broad sense as I had just described it to the Ambassador.