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

Participants: Sir Frederick Phillips;
Mr. Redvers Opie, Counselor of British Embassy;
Dr. Leo Pasvolsky;8
Mr. A. A. Berle, Jr.

Sir Frederick Phillips and Mr. Opie came in at their request. They had received copies of the tentative Treasury suggestions for monetary [Page 1057] stabilization. They first inquired what the plans were for sending this memorandum to the other governments. They realized it had already been sent to the Chinese and Russian Embassies here.

I said we had rather hoped to get out the memorandum to the other allied and associated governments within the next few days.

After some discussion as to the difficulties of getting representatives here who might discuss the matter which were apparently framed with the desire of introducing a suggestion that the conference be held in London—(a suggestion which was not made by them, however) they then inquired whether we envisaged a formal conference here. Dr. Pasvolsky said he considered the first thing to do was to have the experts present so we could discuss the matter informally among ourselves. We should thus have the benefit of everyone’s ideas on the point.

I said that I understood the Treasury, after such discussion, had in mind formalizing the discussions in a regular conference if it should appear that there was likely to be general agreement.

Mr. Opie said that they had not as yet been able to get the comments of their Government on the Treasury memorandum. He felt we ought to continue discussions between the British Government and ourselves prior to sending out copies of the memorandum to all and sundry. This had started, he said, with bilateral discussions between us, and he thought that these could profitably be carried on some time longer. In any event, he hoped we could have a further discussion, preferably on February 23, at which time they would probably have the comments of their Government; and he hoped that sending out the memorandum to the other countries might be delayed until after that time.

Dr. Pasvolsky and I agreed that there was no objection to that, and we accordingly planned to meet on February 23, at three p.m. Meantime, we would withhold distribution of the memorandum.

Mr. Opie explained that although they had promptly sent the memorandum to England, due to bad plane connections it had only just arrived and their Government had not had a chance to examine it.

A. A. B[erle], Jr.
  1. Special Assistant to the Secretary of State.