793.94 Conference/73d

Memorandum From the File of President Roosevelt’s Secretary 7

It should be recognized by the British Cabinet that there is such a thing as public opinion in the United States, as well as in other nations.

That it is necessary for Mr. Davis and for his associates in the Nine Power meeting to make it clear at every step:

That the United States is in no way, and will not be in any way, a part to joint action with the League of Nations.
That the United States policy does not envisage the United States being pushed out in front as the leader in, or suggestor of, future action.
That on the other side of the picture, the United States cannot afford to be made, in popular opinion at home, a tail to the British kite, as has been charged and is now being charged by the Hearst press and others.

The point to be made clear is that the United States proposes in general as the basis of discussion, the same policy which has proved so successful among the twenty-one American Republics—no one nation going out to take the lead—no one nation, therefore, in a position to have a finger of fear or scorn pointed at it. The South American agreements were based on equality of the United States with the smallest and weakest Republics, and future action in affairs involving the American hemisphere was agreed to simultaneously and jointly by all the American Republics.

In the present Far Eastern situation it is visualized that whatever proposals are advanced at Brussels and whatever action comes out of Brussels, the proposals and the action should represent, first, the substantial unanimous opinion of the nations meeting at Brussels, and later the substantial unanimous opinion of the overwhelming majority of all nations, whether in or out of the League of Nations.

It is especially important that the British Government understand this point of view.

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We naturally, because we have got a decent community of interest in the preservation of peace in the Far East and adherence to law, want to cooperate wholeheartedly with the British, but it must be an independent cooperation, neither one trying to force the other into something. This means that final resulting action can perfectly well be identical, though not necessarily joint.

  1. Photostatic copy from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, N. Y.; apparently memorandum of views for Norman H. Davis who visited the President at Hyde Park before attending the Brussels Conference. (See telegram No. 8, November 1, 1 p.m., from Mr. Davis, p. 132.)