Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by Mr. Llewellyn E. Thompson, Jr., of the Division of European Affairs

Mr. Reid18 telephoned and said that the Canadian Government understood that the Secretary General of the League of Nations had received an invitation from Princeton University and other institutions in Princeton to transfer certain of the technical services of the League to that city. He said that his Legation had been asked whether this invitation had been sent with the knowledge or approval of the State Department. After consulting Mr. Gray19 and Mr. Dunn20 I informed Mr. Reid that representatives of several institutions at Princeton had called upon the Secretary and had asked him if he would transmit an invitation along these lines to the Secretary General. I said that the Secretary had told them that he could not transmit the invitation and that the Government could not come into the matter in anyway but that they were, of course, free to send an invitation directly to the Secretary General if they cared to do so. I went on to say that I could tell him quite informally that this matter had come up on several occasions in connection with other international [Page 320] organizations and that our general attitude was that an international organization which, because of its charter necessarily had a more or less autonomous and independent character, would not wish to locate in the United States unless it were assured that such independent character could be preserved. I said that the question might arise as to whether such assurance could be given without the specific approval of Congress.

I pointed out that in the particular case of the Princeton invitation, we had considered that this was simply a question of private organizations in this country offering to assist in making facilities available and that the Department had not gone into the questions which would have arisen had the matter come up officially. I added that I understood that Mr. Avenol had replied to the Princeton invitation to the effect that he did not have the authority to accept it.

Mr. Reid said that he quite understood the position and would inform his Government accordingly.

  1. Escott Reid, Second Secretary of the Canadian Legation at Washington.
  2. Cecil W. Gray, Assistant to the Secretary of State.
  3. James C. Dunn, Adviser on Political Relations.