Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)
The British Ambassador called this morning at his request and advised me confidentially that an announcement would be made next week by the British and French Governments that the two Governments were sending to the United States Mr. Ashton-Gwatkin, Economic Adviser to the British Foreign Office, and Mr. Charles Rist, the French financial expert, to discuss with the appropriate authorities in this country the manner in which some constructive solution might be given to the purchase by the Allies of American tobacco and other American agricultural commodities. The Ambassador said that he believed that the sending of these two experts would be a constructive step and that he believed results satisfactory to this Government would be derived therefrom.
I told the Ambassador that I could not emphasize too strongly the need for some satisfactory solution of this problem since the stoppage of purchases of American tobacco as well as other commodities would create a situation in this country which would be of real concern. The Ambassador said that he fully understood that, and that it was for this very reason that he had urged the sending of some competent authority to discuss the matter here.