Memorandum by the Secretary of State

After talking with the Polish Ambassador on another subject during his call, I then proceeded to emphasize the importance of rehabilitation policies for the purpose of both economic and military disarmament, particularly in Europe, stressing what had been said and done at Buenos Aires.36 The Ambassador said that his Government was rendering considerable service for peace just now, in view of its geographical situation and position, to prevent different countries from getting in too close proximity. I expressed my keen interest and appreciation of this and requested him to say so to Foreign Minister Beck.

I then added that there is more or less suspense in many parts of the world, for the reason that nations everywhere do not yet know whether important countries, of Europe in particular, will definitely and permanently pursue a course of narrow, cut-throat trade policies, increasing armaments, militarism, and, ultimately, inevitable catastrophe either military or economic, and probably both,—or whether these governments would finally make up their minds to turn to a peaceful course of readjustment and settlement of economic and peace problems in accordance with the preachments of the 21 American Republics and other countries. I said that many backward and small countries in isolated regions are speculating from time to time about [Page 823] the possibilities of being attacked and captured with a view to being kept as colonies for some larger country; that we have some ten million colored people in the United States who take great pride and have a tremendous personal interest in Liberia; who feel that that country is now sufficiently on its feet and sufficiently stable to go forward beyond question; that Liberia has always been looked upon as a sort of ward of this country, and interest in its progress in this country has been correspondingly existent; that any reports of its colonization immediately arouse tremendous interest and concern here; and that this is a sample of some similar conditions elsewhere in the world. I then said that at Buenos Aires we had preached for the restoration of the sanctity of agreements and urged against unilateral abandonment of them; that we had urged that if and when an agreement was not satisfactory it should be made so in a peaceful way, either by modification or abandonment under legal procedure, and not unilaterally; that likewise any other questions relating to the definite rights and interests or grievances of nations, present problems which must be approached and worked out in a spirit of peace and of law and of good faith, whether relating to territorial questions or others.

The Ambassador, without appearing to feel that I was speaking more than theoretically or academically, expressed his approval. He spoke highly of the work at Buenos Aires.

C[ordell] H[ull]
  1. The Inter-American Conference for the Maintenance of Peace, December 1–23, 1936; see Foreign Relations, 1936, vol. v, pp. 3 ff.