121.840 Welles, Sumner/8: Telegram

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

196. The Havas Agency gave out this afternoon the following semi-official statement of the French Government’s views.

“The purpose of the mission with which Mr. Welles has just been charged is clearly understood in Paris. This initiative is connected with that taken by the President of the United States in December in sending Mr. Myron Taylor as personal ambassador near the Pope.5

Mr. Sumner Welles can be sure of being received in France with the same sentiments as those inspired by the various messages of the President of the United States.

At the same time it is learned that the Secretary of State, Mr. Cordell Hull, is engaged in conversations with certain neutral states relative to the economic organization of the world after the war.6

Informed circles emphasize that these two American initiatives are essentially distinct and apart. While Mr. Sumner Welles is sent to those countries that are belligerents, not as a mediator or even as a messenger between the different capitals but to make a general report to Washington on war conditions, Mr. Cordell Hull is consulting the neutrals on the future organization of peace. These are two separate fields, as M. Daladier7 clearly pointed out in his speech in the Senate at the end of December.

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England and France actually seek by victory of their arms to obtain “material and positive guarantees” of peace without which no stable organization of international relations could be established, either in the political or economic field. These are the preliminary conditions to all negotiations and it is this aspect of the problem that Mr. Sumner Welles is charged with studying.

The economic or other plans that could be envisaged in the course of the exchange of views that the Department of State is engaged in which [with] the neutrals could be realized in concrete form only if the recurring menaces to peace of which the English Laborites spoke in their recent proclamation are definitely eliminated from the horizon.

It is evident from the French point of view that the constant peril of a Germany that periodically subjects Europe to war crises for purely political and imperialistic reasons must be wiped out before the world of the future can take contractual form.”

  1. See pp. 123 ff.
  2. See pp. 117 ff.
  3. Edouard Daladier, French Premier, Minister of War, and Minister for Foreign Affairs.