500.A21/156: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Chile (Bowers)

53. Your strictly confidential despatch 371, March 13.86 The Department is contemplating the issue to the parties to the consultation of a comprehensive communication regarding its own position.

In the meantime and unless you perceive objection thereto, you might discuss his memorandum of March 2 [12] informally with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, along the following lines:

In initiating consultations with all states with which we maintain diplomatic relations and which were not at that time engaged in hostilities, the American Government felt the neutrals the world over had a certain common interest in expressing their views as to what sort of a world should emerge from this war. This was a common interest which was of greater scope than that of the Americas alone, and the views of the American states are generally fairly well known from our previous collaboration.

[Page 121]

We recognize that nothing effective in economic organization can be accomplished without the eventual collaboration of the great belligerent powers, nevertheless if fighting stops and the desires of the neutral world are chaotic and inarticulate, they are likely to be disregarded at a peace settlement, while on the contrary, a unified aspiration clearly expressed should influence an eventual peace. We cannot be sure, of course, that such influence will prevail but the neutrals have direct interest in the economic consequences of a peace and so a right to express their views.

Obviously, the study of limitation of armament must be theoretical until the collaboration of the belligerents is practicable but a unified point of view on certain methods might be worked out.

Reference point 8 of Chilean memorandum. We are of opinion after careful consideration that the inclusion in the discussion of immediate war-time questions would render it exceedingly difficult for those states to participate which are in the vicinity of the conflict and thus under immediate threat.

  1. Not printed.