Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

The British Ambassador called at his request. He said that he had had lunch with the President yesterday and that the question of early conferences between the two countries on aviation and on oil16 were discussed. The President agreed with the British desire for early discussions and suggested that the Ambassador confer with me and perhaps one or two other Cabinet officers. I replied that we would be ready for informal discussions at an early date, adding that after I have conferred with some of my associates and bring matters up to date, I could speak to him more definitively. I remarked that Congress has an important function in dealing with these subjects since it enacted the first law establishing a policy;17 that of course the Executive branch had exclusive authority to conduct negotiations, and that I felt satisfied it would be desirable to proceed as rapidly as may be practicable to the point of taking up conversations. I then added that it would facilitate these discussions very much if each side, especially the Government urging early conversations, would [Page 365] give to the other the principal points it may have in mind for discussion. I said that such a policy should be practiced by both Governments. The Ambassador said that he agreed that it would facilitate the conversations very much to pursue this course.

C[ordell] H[ull]
  1. For documentation regarding Anglo-American petroleum discussions, see vol. iii, pp. 94 ff.
  2. Act of June 23, 1938; 52 Stat. 973.