711.00 Pres. Speech, Oct. 5, 1937/100

Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

Mr. Mallet, the British Chargé d’Affaires, called upon me this morning. He said that he had an important communication to make and that he would like to have the opportunity of communicating it to me. He then read from the text of a telegraphic instruction which he had received from his Government which instruction was [Page 601] more or less to the following effect: that Mr. Eden10 would like to know the exact interpretation which should be given to that portion of the President’s Chicago address11 which referred to a possible quarantine against nations. Mr. Eden inquired whether the President had fully understood the full implication of that term and if so, whether, in the event that the United States was considering a joint imposition of a boycott against Japan, the United States had taken into account the possibility that Japan as a result of such imposition would undertake retaliatory measures which might include measures of aggression against the interests of the United States and of the nations taking part in such boycott. Mr. Mallet reminded me of the reply made by this Government last week to an inquiry from the British Government on the subject of the possible application of boycotts12 and concluded by saying that he was informed by Mr. Eden that a further and fuller exposition of Mr. Eden’s views in this regard would be communicated to this Government in the near future.

I replied that in view of the fact that a further and ampler expression of these views was to be given to this Government it would seem unnecessary for me to undertake to make any specific reply at this time. I said that I could only assume from Mr. Eden’s inquiry that he had construed the President’s address and the part under reference as implying that the President had it in mind to consider the immediate or imminent application of quarantine measures. I stated that this was not the case, and I requested Mr. Mallet to give the full emphasis required by the last paragraph of the President’s Chicago address which I quoted to him. I added that the immediate intention of the President was that this Government should undertake to cooperate with the other signatories of the Nine-Power Treaty for the purpose of trying to find a solution of the Chinese situation through an agreement satisfactory to all of the signatories of the treaty. I concluded by saying that, as Mr. Mallet probably knew, the President was going to make a radio broadcast this evening13 and that I felt sure that that address would be very helpful to Mr. Mallet in advising his Government of the interpretation which should be given to the President’s Chicago address.

Mr. Mallet then touched upon the subject of the recent conference held in Mexico City between the Ambassador and the Embassy staff and all of our consular officers in Mexico. He appeared concerned by reports published in the press with regard thereto and asked whether this implied that this Government intended to take a stronger [Page 602] policy in Mexico with reference to the oil situation.14 I said that the meeting referred to by Mr. Mallet had nothing whatever to do with the oil situation; that it was solely for the purpose of obtaining a closer and more effective working arrangement between all of our representatives in Mexico.

I then added that recent information I had received with regard to the negotiations between the oil interests and the Mexican Government had been satisfactory and that I trusted a solution agreeable to both sides might now be obtained.

I inquired of Mr. Mallet whether he had any information with regard to the Mediterranean situation and he said that he had none whatever. He talked briefly regarding the general European situation but seemed in general to be uninformed.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, p. 379.
  3. See memorandum from the British Embassy handed to the Secretary of State on October 1, p. 560.
  4. For extract see Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, p. 400.
  5. See vol. v, pp. 644 ff.