Statement by President Roosevelt, Issued to the Press March 29, 1940 27

Under Secretary of State Welles has concluded the mission upon which he was sent to Europe and has reported to me and to the Secretary of State.

As I said when the announcement of Mr. Welles’ mission was made, Mr. Welles was sent to Europe in order to obtain information with regard to existing conditions. He was neither authorized to make, nor has he made, any commitments involving the Government of the United States, nor was he empowered to offer, and he has not offered, any proposals in the name of this Government. He has not received, nor has be brought back to me, any peace proposals from any source.

The information which he has received from the heads of the governments which he has visited will be of the greatest value to this Government in the general conduct of its foreign relations. As was announced at the time of his departure from the United States, the information communicated to him by the Italian, German, French, and British Governments will be regarded as entirely confidential by this Government. It relates to the views and policies of the European Governments mentioned.

I am glad to say that Mr. Welles’ mission has likewise resulted, through personal contacts and through the conversations which he held, in a clarification of the relations between the United States and the countries which he visited and will, I believe, assist in certain instances in the development of better understanding and more friendly relations.

Finally, even though there may be scant immediate prospect for the establishment of any just, stable, and lasting peace in Europe, the information made available to this Government as a result of Mr. Welles’ mission will undoubtedly be of the greatest value when the time comes for the establishment of such a peace.

To Mr. Welles go my thanks and full appreciation for carrying out this difficult mission with extraordinary tact and understanding and in accordance with the best American diplomatic traditions.

  1. Reprinted from Department of State Bulletin, March 30, 1940, p. 335.