811.0141 Phoenix Group/9

Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of European Affairs (Moffat) of a Conversation Between the Counselor of the Department of State (Moore) and the British Ambassador (Lindsay)

Judge Moore told Sir Ronald that he had asked him to come to the Department in order to hand to him a note in reply to the British Embassy’s two notes of July 16 and July 22, with regard to Canton Island and other neighboring Islands in the Pacific. After reading the Department’s note (which bore the date of August 931) Sir Ronald remarked that in effect what the United States was proposing was (a) to effect a clean-up of the entire situation regarding disputed [Page 130] islands in the Pacific, and (b) meanwhile for both Governments to observe a “stand-still.” He remarked that one objection that occurred to him was that while Great Britain and the United States were standing still, other Powers might proceed with settlers or beacons or markings or postings. Mr. Moffat replied that as far as he knew no other Power was asserting claims, and Sir Ronald agreed that his observation was in effect more theoretical than actual. He then asked whether we had claims to islands outside the Phoenix group. Judge Moore replied “yes” but that the number was not large. Sir Ronald then said that if he understood us aright, what we proposed was first, that the British should agree to the principle of the stand-still and that once this was agreed we would present our claims without delay. Judge Moore replied that Sir Ronald’s understanding was correct and that we would be in a position to give him this information within a very few days thereafter. The Ambassador replied that he felt he understood the situation and that he would telegraph his Government and let us know their reaction within a very few days.

Pierrepont Moffat
  1. Supra.