740.00112 European War 1939/1031

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)

The British Ambassador called to see me this morning at his request. The Ambassador stated at some length the importance which his Government attributed to the embargo decree upon the exportation from Germany of German goods. He adverted once more to the dire straits in which Germany found herself through her inability to obtain foreign exchange, and stated that the blockade was becoming more and more effective. He said that if the embargo were relaxed in any one point, much of the advantages already gained by the Allied Powers would be lost, and that it was for this reason that the British [Page 13] Government attributed such vital importance to the embargo and to the prevention of Germany obtaining foreign exchange through the mails. The Ambassador stated that he was very anxious to avoid any further flare-up on the part of public opinion in this country or on the part of the American press, and that he had, consequently, advised his Government to delay making any reply to our note upon the subject of the embargo for a week or ten days.

I said to the Ambassador that the importance of this advice, in my judgment, would appear to hinge upon the contents of the British reply.

The Ambassador said that the reply of his Government would maintain the position previously taken, but would assure the United States of every consideration in specific cases where the interests of the United States were involved.

To this I made no comment.

S[umner] W[elles]