711.00111 Lic. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. Inc. E. I/93/4

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Office of Arms and Munitions Control (Green)

Major K. K. V. Casey of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company called at my office this morning. He referred to our conversations reported in my memoranda of August 31 and September 1,26 in regard to contracts between du Pont and its subsidiaries on the one hand and the Chinese Government or its agents on the other hand. He said that du Pont was carrying out its contract for the sale of 1,000 tons of TNT and that Remington was carrying out its contract for the sale of 11,000,000 cartridges, but that after long discussion the executive committee of du Pont had finally decided that neither the parent company nor its subsidiaries should enter into any further contracts for the sale of arms for export to China during the present conflict in the Far East. Major Casey said that there was wide divergence of opinion among the members of the executive committee as to the wisdom of this decision, and that he personally felt that the decision was unwise.

I expressed some surprise that arms manufacturers should feel it incumbent upon them to decide for themselves that arms should not be exported to China in view of the fact that the Government was issuing export licenses authorizing such exportation, had not availed itself of the authority conferred by various laws to refuse to issue such licenses, and had not made any statement that such exportation was contrary to its policies. I pointed out that the President could prohibit the exportation of arms to China without proclaiming the Neutrality Act to be in effect by merely directing that no exceptions should be made to the prohibition contained in President Harding’s Proclamation of January 31, 1922,27 which is still in effect. I added that I hoped that in any conversations with the Chinese Ambassador or with any other representatives of the Chinese Government, the representatives of his company would make it clear that the action [Page 537]taken by the company was taken by it of its own volition and not as a result of any alleged expression of the desires of the Government.

Major Casey said that he would try to see to it that his company assumed full responsibility for its own decisions and he added that if any of the executives of the company were in any doubt as to the laws governing the issuance of export licenses, or as to the policy of the Government, they might wish to call at the Department to discuss these matters.

J[oseph] C. G[reen]
  1. Neither printed.
  2. Proclamation declared March 4, 1922, under authority conferred by a Joint Resolution of Congress of January 31, 1922, Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. i, p. 726.