740.00112 European War 1939/10762: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Harrison)

1875. London’s telegram to Department no. 3854 of May 11th. Keller has stated categorically that reductions in Annex I of the December agreement are already very large and that the further reductions which he had offered on March 23 constituted his absolute and final instructions. He added that he saw no advantage in even referring our request for further reductions to Bern since he did not think Bern would go beyond reductions already made or offered. He agreed, however, that he must tell Bern about our demands and as he was not now permitted secret contact with Bern he also agreed to the message’s going forward through our Missions.

London’s 4091 of May 20th, 8 p.m.44 states “We are inclined to think the Swiss offer of March 23 represents the bulk of any concessions in Annex I of the December 19 agreement that they are prepared to make”. Telegram states that should this prove correct it is recommended that the less important concessions requested by the Swiss be granted in order to secure the reductions included in the March 23 offer. The telegram continues “If it is necessary to concede special quotas for locomotives, thermometers, and flour milling machinery amounting to 2,266,000 Swiss francs in order to hold the reductions in ball bearings, arms and ammunition, fuses, etc. amounting to 18,977,000 Swiss francs, we would do so. No industrial raw materials would be granted for an agreement along these lines. It is our opinion [Page 726] that on a balance such an agreement is advantageous. Are we authorized to make it if a reply from Bern is in the negative?”

The Department and FEA are considering the advisability of granting the authority requested but before coming to a definite decision would appreciate your opinion in the premises and wish to receive a reply to our representations which were transmitted to Bern through you and your British colleagues on or about May 11th.45 You are therefore requested to urge the Swiss Government, without waiting for your British colleague to take parallel action, to give you an early reply to these representations and to inform the Government again of the great importance we attach to a favorable outcome of present negotiations along the lines indicated in Department’s 1838, May 27, 5 p.m. British Embassy here is requesting London to instruct British Minister Bern in like sense.

Sent to Bern repeated to London.

  1. Not printed.
  2. See paragraph 8, telegram 3854, May 11, from London, p. 721.