The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland ( Harrison )
This note has been read with the deepest interest and we fully realize that the attainment of practical results will depend upon many factors including those cited by the Federal Council and that the hope of bringing about the kind of world we desire to live in will depend largely on the type of peace, the length of the struggle, and other analogous factors.
Nevertheless, we feel that if peace discussions start and the neutral countries have in the meantime made no effort to clarify and harmonize their views, then in all probability the expression of those views will be so discordant that negotiators at a peace conference would presumably give them no consideration. It is clear that the countries not engaged in hostilities will have a profound interest in the type of peace which is made, certainly in so far as it concerns economic arrangements and limitation of armament. The Government of the United States feels, therefore, that there can be no question [Page 122] as to the right of the states not engaged in hostilities to enter upon discussion of these problems and to make the endeavor to bring about certain generally accepted views on them. If such concord can be reached its influence upon the belligerents when they come to discuss peace terms could not fail to be powerful.
This Government recognizes the peculiar position of the Federal Council in respect to traditional Swiss neutrality and has in mind no action which would jeopardize such position. This Government earnestly hopes, therefore, that it can count upon the counsel of the Swiss Government in a discussion of these problems.
We are obviously in accord with the point made by the Federal Council to the effect that each government in anticipation of peace negotiations should study the experiences and discussions of the past including those cited in the Swiss note.
Referring to your 20, March 29, noon.90
In the conversation sketched above, you may inform Mr. Pilet-Golaz that naturally the Department defers to his judgment as to apprising the small neutral states confidentially of his views.