793.94 Conference/51

Memorandum by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The British Chargé d’Affaires called to see me this morning. The primary purpose of his visit was to deliver a sealed letter addressed to the President by the British Prime Minister.24 Mr. Mallet stated that Mr. Chamberlain’s letter to the President was with reference to the letter sent to Mr. Chamberlain by the President earlier in the summer.25 I told Mr. Mallet that I should take pleasure in seeing that Mr. Chamberlain’s letter was transmitted at once to the President, who, as Mr. Mallet might know, was for the moment at Hyde Park.

Mr. Mallet then said that he had been apprised by his Government of a telephone conversation held yesterday, by instruction of the Secretary of State, between Mr. Norman Davis26 and Mr. Eden. He said that he was not specifically instructed to advise me of the telegram he had received from his Government in this regard but that he felt warranted in doing so. He read me a portion of the message, which said that the British Government was not in the least disquieted [Page 609] or alarmed by any recent indications of American policy with reference to the Far East; that on the contrary the United States Government could be assured of the “whole-hearted cooperation of the British Government at all times” in approaching a solution of the difficulties which had arisen in the Orient.

Mr. Mallet referred to his earlier conversation of two days ago with me with regard to the President’s Chicago address and said that he feared that our apprehension as to possible British disquiet had arisen from the message which he had been instructed to give me asking whether the President had fully understood the implications of the word “quarantine”. I took occasion to reiterate to Mr. Mallet what I had previously told him. I said that I could only assume that the British Government realized what the President’s intentions had been in delivering his Chicago address and that it could hardly question the fact that the President would not be likely to be unaware of what he intended to state in an address of that high importance. Mr. Mallet seemed apologetic. He said that, of course, the British Government had no misconception now, and he made no reference to the further “more ample exposition” which in his last interview he had advised me his Government would make to the Government of the United States.

Mr. Mallet said that this most recent instruction he had received had also advised him that Craigie, the British Ambassador in Tokyo, had already been instructed by the British Foreign Office to make such representations to the Japanese Government as Grew was instructed to make. I told Mr. Mallet that no instructions had as yet been sent to our Ambassador in Tokyo; that as Mr. Davis had told Mr. Eden on the telephone yesterday, the instructions we had considered sending Mr. Grew had been transmitted to our Embassy in London for the information of the British Foreign Minister, and that these instructions would not be sent to Mr. Grew until we had ascertained the views of Mr. Eden. I said that we did not want any delay to occur through any misunderstanding in this regard and that it would be desirable for us to have Mr. Eden’s views on this matter directly at the earliest opportunity.

I asked Mr. Mallet whether he had any further information as to the decision of the Belgian Government with regard to the issuance of invitations to the United States and to Japan, and with regard to the holding of the proposed meeting of the nine powers in Brussels.27 He said that he had no further information, and that he agreed with me that it was highly unfortunate that there should be so much delay in announcing the place and date of the holding of the meeting.

S[umner] W[elles]
  1. See letter of September 28 from Prime Minister Chamberlain, vol. i, p. 131.
  2. See letter of July 28, ibid., p. 113.
  3. Chairman of the American delegation to the Geneva Disarmament Conference since 1932.
  4. See vol. iv, pp. 67 ff.