Memorandum by the Secretary of State

The British Ambassador3 called at my apartment at my request on yesterday evening (Sunday). I handed him a memorandum of an oral statement which I proposed to make to him, relative to the apparent movements of Great Britain and Canada further backward in the direction of extreme, economic nationalism. A copy of the memorandum is attached hereto.4

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I then added orally that Great Britain and Canada must be greatly interested in the broad program for economic rehabilitation in the world and through it the restoration of conditions of permanent peace; and that any individual trade agreement between Great Britain and Canada would not compare for a moment in importance with this big objective. I stated that it was a most unpropitious juncture for Great Britain and Canada to be even seemingly moving still further backwards toward nationalistic, economic policies, resembling the complete closing up of the Empire like an oyster shell, speaking economically; that this is apparently about to happen just as the American Congress must consider insistent demands for the widest embargoes on all credit and all goods of every kind to all belligerent countries in time of war, to say nothing of the further fact that we are seeking an extension of the Reciprocity Trade Act5 just at this time; that Great Britain and Canada by an exhibition of ultra and extreme nationalism at this particular time can very easily impede very greatly the whole movement and program for restoration of normal, economic relationships among nations and leave Europe to pursue her present course of steadily increasing armaments, militarism, dictatorships and certain catastrophe, either military or economic, or both, within another year or two.

I concluded by saying that the warmest spirit of friendship and the strong belief that Great Britain and Canada are as much interested in carrying forward and expanding the program for the improvement and preservation of conditions of peace and economic well-being, in lieu of the only alternative course in Europe along military lines, prompted me to venture thus to call attention. I added that since the present trade agreement6 does not expire until August, there is apparently nothing to prevent Great Britain and Canada from delaying the signing of the proposed agreement at least until these broader and vitally important aspects can be further discussed and considered if necessary.

C[ordell] H[ull]
  1. Sir Ronald Lindsay.
  2. Supra.
  3. The Trade Agreements Act of June 12, 1934, was extended by Joint Resolution of March 1, 1937; 50 Stat. 24.
  4. Signed at Ottawa August 20, 1932, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cxxxv, p. 161.