500.CC/6–544: Telegram

The British Foreign Office to the British Embassy in the United States 86

It is most satisfactory that the Administration should have made such good progress and we ourselves would be fully prepared to send a delegation to the United States for a conference on official level in the near future. We would fall in with any date after July 1st agreeable to the Americans and Russians, but would rather hope that in view of the heat it might be possible to hold the conference outside Washington itself.

On the other hand, we should prefer to exchange papers with the Americans (and with the Russians too if theirs are ready) before the conference actually meets. If we wait for the opening of the conference before doing so much time will be wasted in consulting the Government and agreement is likely to be delayed. Please therefore ask Mr. Hull to let us see his proposals before delegation leaves. Our [Page 641] own papers should be ready for communication to him and the Russians at an early date.
So far as the Chinese are concerned we should ourselves be ready to accept them as full members of the conference provided the Russians agree. If however the Russians do not, it seems to us that a much less cumbersome procedure than that suggested in your telegram of May 31st should suffice. Would not in fact the Chinese Ambassador be present at the meeting place of the conference and be kept informed of the proceedings by ourselves and the Americans behind the scenes (see your telegram of December 13th).
We could also take into account in our discussions with the Russian representatives any comments or suggestions which the Chinese Ambassador might make. Since the main reason for Russian opposition to Chinese participation will be obvious, procedure we propose need not imply divergencies of view between the four powers.
In any case we do not understand Mr. Hull’s proposal that the United States, ourselves and China should only discuss “matters affecting Japan”. As the whole subject for debate will be world organization it is difficult to see how the discussions could be thus confined.
  1. Copy handed to the Under Secretary of State (Stettinius) by the British Ambassador (Halifax) on June 5. Mr. Stettinius transmitted copies of this telegram on the same date to President Roosevelt and to Secretary Hull.