Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The Canadian Minister came in upon my invitation. I set out for his benefit substantially what I have said to Mr. Runciman and other British officials, and also to the Canadian Government through our Minister to Canada, Mr. Armour. I repeatedly made it very definite that I was telling him nothing which the Canadian Government did not already know and the British Government also; that, therefore, in no circumstances was I sending a word or a line in a message to the Canadian Government; that, knowing his deep interest in the program for economic restoration and the entire harmony of views on his part and mine, I felt that it would give me a sense of relief to send for him and talk generally about the subject, so that he would in any event know all that I knew with respect to this movement for economic liberalism, for whatever it might be worth to him as one of its outstanding supporters.

In the course of the conversation, the Minister inquired what I would suggest as to the course of the British Empire in regard to Empire preference. I repeated to him that I had often said that [Page 14] neither I nor my country would in any circumstances see anything said or done which would weaken a single link in the British Empire; that it was the greatest stabilizer of human affairs in the world today; and that it meant everything to the future of human progress and civilization for the British Empire to continue to function for the service of the human race, as well as itself.

I then very definitely and emphatically said that, with the entire interests of peace and economic well-being throughout the world tied up with the present program for world economic rehabilitation, it was not for a moment in my mind or in the mind of my Government to bring the slightest pressure to bear on any portion of the British Empire with respect to the problem of Empire preference,—for the reason that if, for considerations of Empire preference, Great Britain and the autonomous dominions would prefer to move backward away from the course of economic liberalism, rather than to be governed by their opportunity and their responsibility to cooperate in promoting the great twin major objectives of economic rehabilitation and through it conditions of permanent peace, it would be futile in any event to bring pressure to bear about Empire preference. I emphasized also that the next few weeks would determine the whole course of peace so far as it was to be tied in with economic rehabilitation, and that this would be determined by whether the British Empire should decide to move backward or move forward in connection with this broad basic economic program.

I need not repeat here my lengthy repetition to the Minister of what has already been said to the Governments of Canada and Great Britain on this general subject.

When he left, the Minister remarked that Canada now had the greatest opportunity within a generation for outstanding service. I said that I heartily agreed.

C[ordell] H[ull]