121.840 Welles, Sumner/13a: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in France ( Murphy )3

At his press conference this morning the President issued to the press the following statement:

“At the request of the President, the Under Secretary of State, Mr. Sumner Welles, will proceed shortly to Europe to visit Italy, France, Germany and Great Britain. This visit is solely for the purpose of advising the President and the Secretary of State as to present conditions in Europe. Mr. Welles will, of course, be authorized to make no proposals or commitments in the name of the Government of the United States. Furthermore, statements made to him by officials of Governments will be kept in the strictest confidence and will be communicated by him solely to the President and the Secretary of State.”

The French Embassy in Washington was yesterday confidentially informed that the President intended to make this statement today and was likewise advised that the President requested that the highest authorities of the French Government receive the Under Secretary upon his arrival in Paris in order that he might be afforded the opportunity of talking with them. It was emphasized, as stated in the President’s announcement, that any conversations so held would be regarded as strictly confidential and solely for the information of the President and Secretary of State and would be divulged to no one else.

You will be advised later of the exact date of Mr. Welles’ expected arrival in Paris. It is his present intention to sail from New York on February 17 on the steamship Rex and to proceed first to Rome.

  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, to the American Embassies in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.