611.5731/175½

Memorandum by Mr. Hugh S. Cumming, Jr., of the Division of European Affairs

Note: After consultation between Eu6 and TA7 on the subject of Mr. Morgenstierne’s request (see memorandum of February 9, 1938) that the Department reconsider the text of the draft telegram which Mr. Sayre approved his sending to Oslo on the subject of whale oil, it was agreed that since it would be difficult to draft anything which would be satisfactory to Mr. Morgenstierne and at the same time be within the limits beyond which the Department could not go at this early stage of exploratory conversations, it would be better to give Mr. Morgenstierne a statement recapitulating all that had been said to him on the present position of this Government. Mr. Sayre approved the attached draft prepared by Mr. Ross of TA,8 which it was intended should be handed to Mr. Morgenstierne by Mr. Sayre on plain paper, to do with as he saw fit.

I telephoned Mr. Morgenstierne just before lunch today to invite him to call on Mr. Sayre at his convenience. By way of explanation I outlined to the Minister the action, indicated above, which I understood Mr. Sayre intended to take with respect to the Minister’s request to me on February 9.

The Minister seemed to be quite disappointed that from what I said the Department did not seem to be willing to go as far as he wished with respect to a commitment as to what we would do in a concession on whale oil. He then said he had every reason to believe that either today or tomorrow he would receive a telegram from Oslo containing some preliminary trade agreement proposals. In view of this he thought that it might be better if he refrained from calling at the Department [Page 623]until after this telegram had been received, in which case he felt he would have something tangible to offer us. It was finally agreed that the Minister would wait until Monday or Tuesday to see if his expected telegram came in, and then he would telephone me.

N. B. The Minister did not come in, or call again until March 4, 1938. See Memo, of that date.

H[ugh] S. C[umming, Jr.]
  1. Division of European Affairs.
  2. Division of Trade Agreements.
  3. Memorandum of February 11 to the Norwegian Legation, p. 624.