800.515/631: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant) to the Secretary of State

2905. For Secretary of the Treasury from Casaday. Department’s 2378, April 14, midnight, and 2537, April 21, 5 p.m.

[Page 1072]

[Here follows detailed information regarding the experts appointed by the Ministries of Finance of Czechoslovakia, Luxemburg, and Poland for the informal preliminary conversations.]

Dr. Beyen of the Netherlands Government has prepared and sent to the finance experts of the various governments here, including Britain, the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. (but apparently not the Chinese) and also to the French National Committee a brief commentary on the British and American proposals. Although couched in general terms the commentary, on balance, clearly favors the principles of the Keynes plan vis-à-vis the American proposal. Beyen, with the approval of Minister van den Broek,43 suggests in an informal letter that his paper might serve as the basis for private, unofficial conversations here among the experts who took part in the earlier conferences sponsored by the British Treasury. Beyen’s letter to me stated that if I (and the others) agreed that such discussions might be useful, a meeting would be called at an early date.

This morning Waley44 telephoned me that the British were taking the view that Beyen’s letter to them was for their information and not an invitation to attend the meeting. He said it seemed obvious and natural that the representatives of the various European governments here wanted a chance to talk things over among themselves and possibly adopt some common approach before proceeding to Washington. He suggests that the participants would probably prefer that neither the British nor the United States representatives attend the proposed meeting, as observers or otherwise. He stated that, in replying to Beyen, the British were merely expressing appreciation for being informed of the proposed conversations but making it clear that they did not intend to send a representative unless specifically requested. Waley intimated that Beyen probably expects a similar reply from me.

After due consideration I decided to reply to Beyen’s letter in a sense somewhat similar to Waley’s reply. I have indicated, however, my readiness to attend if my presence would be considered helpful and if I am so informed.

I am aware of the possibility that, with or without the foreknowledge of the British, the purpose of the proposed meeting might well be to attempt to secure in advance an agreement among the European delegates to plump for the Keynes plan when they go to Washington. At any rate it seems likely that Beyen will be the chief protagonist among the Europeans for the Keynes plan and that his own purpose in suggesting a “pre-Washington” meeting at this time is not far from that just stated. [Casaday.]

  1. Netherlands Minister of Finance.
  2. Sir David Waley, Under Secretary, British Treasury.