033.4111 Runciman, Walter/15: Telegram
The Chargé in the United Kingdom ( Atherton ) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 23—12:25 p.m.]
88. My luncheon with Runciman, postponed from last week, took place yesterday. During the discussion he outlined very fully his trip and impressions and the various conversations he had had, in the course of which I had an opportunity to make use of the information contained in your 45, February 12, 7 p.m. At the close of our [Page 15] talk he took occasion to give a summary which I felt he intended me to convey to Washington. The following is very nearly verbatim.
“My primary purpose ever since I received last summer the President’s letter of invitation to visit him24a was to take advantage of this opportunity to explain the position of Europe as we see it, particularly that while war was definitely put off for the present nevertheless the threat of Germany persists. In our opinion if Germany looked across the ocean and found the boards were clear between England and the United States such a perspective was enough to check her in her warlike course. My second purpose was to remove as many of those questions from the Anglo-American board as possible. Outstanding among these is the matter of an Anglo-American trade agreement. In this I did not get as far as I had hoped. I explained to the President and Mr. Hull that what I had done 23 times the United States had so far done only 13 times. I tried to explain our position to Mr. Hull not only from our own angle here but also from the Canadian angle. Certainly in spite of what Mackenzie King might say Canada did not negotiate the United States-Canadian trade agreement with any idea of relinquishing empire preferences. I urged Mr. Hull to satisfy himself on this point by asking Mr. Dunning25 to come to Washington to talk with him. Be that as it may I cannot but feel that my interviews with Mr. Hull were of the greatest value and I am convinced that because there must be a settlement of this problem between us a way will be found without asking Mr. Hull to renounce his policy and without Mr. Hull asking me to renounce mine.
Mr. Morgenthau’s26 statement to me as to his close cooperation with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Treasury here were of great satisfaction to me and to my colleagues.
My visit to the White House gave me an opportunity for interviews with the President which were extraordinarily helpful. They were an exchange of ideas without record.”
Incidentally the Secretary of the Board of Trade in a dinner conversation last week told me that on his return Mr. Runciman had said a trade agreement with the United States must be worked out even though the negotiations were protracted and that Mr. Runciman in his report to the Cabinet emphasized his belief in the value of his visit to the United States.