Memorandum by the Chief of the Office of Arms and Munitions Control (Green)


I had luncheon today with Mr. Felix Morley, Editor of The Washington Post. Mr. Morley’s new assistant editor and Mr. Yost of my Office were present. Mr. Morley has just returned from a visit to England where he had a three-quarters of an hour interview with Mr. Eden and conversations with various other figures in British public life.

Mr. Eden informed Mr. Morley that he did not believe that the present moment was the proper time to initiate any change in the Covenant of the League; he did not feel that any steps of this sort would be taken before the autumn meeting of the Assembly. He said that he was unable to make any prediction as to when sanctions against Italy would be lifted or to forecast the attitude of the new French Government towards such action. Mr. Eden indicated, however, that the British Government would have been prepared to close the Suez Canal last autumn if it could have secured the necessary support from the other sanctionist powers. In reply to a question as to the attitude of England in case of German action against Czechoslovakia, he said that, while the British Government would naturally be greatly concerned at any violation of the Covenant of the League in any part of the world, it would not feel the same responsibility in regard to developments in Central Europe as it would toward developments along Germany’s western frontier, where Great Britain had definite treaty obligations.

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In a discussion of the British rearmament program, Mr. William Henderson, son of Mr. Arthur Henderson, informed Mr. Morley that, while the Labor Party was glad that it was not itself obliged to take the responsibility for this step, it was nevertheless convinced of its necessity and was prepared to support the program to the limit. Other members of the Labor Party, including Mr. Hugh Dalton, Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs in the last Labor Cabinet, expressed deep regret that Great Britain had not taken vigorous action against Italy last autumn and blocked Mussolini at the outset. They did not seem inclined to blame the United States or any other power for the failure of sanctions but felt that the principal responsibility lay at the door of the British Government.

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Joseph C. Green