Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Berle)

Participants: Sir Frederick Phillips;2
Mr. Redvers Opie, Counselor of British Embassy;
Mr. A. A. Berle, Jr.

Sir Frederick Phillips and Mr. Opie called at their request. They wished to ask two questions.

First: Were we making any progress in getting our ideas together in answer to the Keynes Plan3 which they had presented?

Second: Had we any objections now to their handing copies of the Keynes Plan to Maisky4 in London and to the Chinese Ambassador there?

I answered the two questions categorically. I said that we had made very considerable progress in getting up our ideas and I thought they were now substantially complete. We did not, however, feel it advisable to lay down an American plan. Instead, the Treasury was contemplating calling a meeting of treasury experts from whom a plan might develop.

As to their second question, I said that in view of the long delay I could not see that we were in any position to ask the British further to withhold their plan from the Russians and the Chinese. We had ourselves stated to the Russians and Chinese that we expected to enter discussions of this kind and suggested that they might wish to consider their own views in connection with currency stabilization and financial arrangements.

Mr. Opie asked to know what nations would be represented in the event of a conference of treasury experts.

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I said that was presently under consideration. Plainly the British, the Russians and the Chinese would have to be there.

In response to Mr. Opie’s question about South America, I said that had not been determined but one suggestion had been that of drawing in a representative from the Inter-American Financial and Advisory Committee. There remained the question of representation of the British Dominions, and of the European governments-in-exile. As to these, we were still studying the matter.

A. A. B[erle], Jr.
  1. British Treasury Representative in the United States.
  2. For text of the Keynes plan for a clearing union, see Foreign Relations, 1942, vol. i, p. 203. John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, was Economic Adviser to the British Government.
  3. Soviet Ambassador in the United Kingdom.