740.00112 E.W./2–545: Telegram

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

1267. For the Department and FEA from Currie. Quite satisfactory conferences with British have been concluded. It was agreed that we give first priority to cessation of transit traffic through Switzerland. Foot19 proposed in view of Italian Government protest that Ave ask for suspension of transit traffic while matter is referred to arbitration in line with procedure provided for in St. Gothard convention20 and I concurred provided we use as well argument that coal is a war material. Agreement reached on Swiss exports we wish stopped and reduced. Only serious difference arose over my suggestion we ask initially for complete cessation of Swiss exports. After consulting Foreign Office Foot proposed only that we ask for cessation if German coal deliveries stop. At my request we took the matter up jointly with Law.21 I explained that we wished to avoid any German-Swiss diplomatic rupture, and that therefore I did not propose making complete cessation of exports a sine qua non. I wished to advance demand merely as bargaining tactic. On this basis, Law concurred. I further suggested to him that it would assist the Mission and remove certain misunderstandings if he would see the Swiss Minister here and seek to dispel any thoughts that the British Government did not feel as strongly as the American Government about the importance of a successful outcome of the negotiations. This he agreed to do. British delegation will be Foot, Bliss and Seebohm. I plan to leave for Paris February 6. British will follow on 7th. Final discussions on Safehaven proceeding with British Treasury today. I will advise outcome tomorrow. [Currie.]

  1. Dingle M. Foot, Parliamentary Secretary, British Ministry of Economic Warfare.
  2. Convention between Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, signed at Bern October 13, 1909; for text, see (British and Foreign State Papers, vol. cv, p. 639.
  3. Richard K. Law, British Minister of State.