740.00/1076: Telegram

The Ambassador in Belgium (Davies) to the Secretary of State

52. Department’s telegram No. 19, April 20, 7 p.m. Accompanied by Counselor Wilson, had conference with Minister for Foreign Affairs, discussed subject matter and left aide-mémoire. Text of the President’s message had already been transmitted by me. Minister stated would submit the matter to the Cabinet today and inform the Embassy of any decision that may be reached. He said that Belgian people appreciated deeply President Roosevelt’s efforts to preserve peace adding that the United States was the last and most important bulwark for the preservation of our present civilization, liberty and ideals. He stated that in the opinion of the Belgian Government their best service to European peace and civilization was to maintain neutrality and thereby avoid converting Belgium into a battlefield. They were desirous of affording no pretext for aggression.

He asked what specific form replies of other countries particularly smaller European states had taken. Attention was called by me to the direct statements which English, Canadian, New Zealand and other Prime Ministers had made, I also intimated that any statement consistent with their position approving the general idea of a conference as proposed by the President as being a desirable means to avert war would be helpful. He spoke very frankly and in a friendly and appreciative spirit but with the understanding that his remarks were to be considered confidential for the present.