Memorandum of Conversation43

Participants: Mr. Léon Blum
Mr. Francis Lacoste, Minister (Interpreter)
The Secretary
Mr. Matthews

Mr. Léon Blum came, at his request, to see the Secretary this afternoon. He wanted a chance to talk to the Secretary before he (Sec) left for Paris to attend the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers. He thanked the Secretary for taking the time to see him during his stay in Washington. He inquired how long the Secretary thought the meeting of the CFM would last.

The Secretary replied that that would depend on the date set by the CFM for the peace conference. He explained that the date originally set for the peace conference was May 1, but we had run into a situation where the Russians construed the Moscow Declaration44 as meaning that there should be no peace conference until the Council of Foreign Ministers had reached an agreement on all its drafting. He added [Page 431] that he saw that this would put France in an embarrassing position in regard to sending out invitations so he agreed that the date should be decided by the Council of Foreign Ministers.

Mr. Blum told the Secretary he did not expect any changes in the French Government as a result of the general election, which will be held June 2.

Mr. Blum further stated he wanted to impress upon the Secretary the status of the negotiations for the loan. He felt that the preparatory work was very largely accomplished and that the time is about ripe for the conclusions to be announced. He thought there was wide understanding between the American and French negotiators and that by the end of next week they would be able to draw their conclusions. However, the decision of the American Government taken at the conclusion of negotiations by the experts was another matter. He expressed the hope that the American Government would reach a decision which would be favorable to the French and that it would not be long forthcoming.

The Secretary replied he did not know the status of the negotiations as Mr. Clayton had charge of this question. He said he saw many reasons why it would be advisable to arrive at a conclusion one way or another and that before he leaves for Paris he will discuss the matter with Mr. Clayton.

Mr. Blum thanked the Secretary, and referred again to the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers. He said he realized how complicated the situation was, but everything had to be arranged and everything would be arranged. He said that in all his negotiations it was his experience there was never a matter which was a difficulty in itself; that when there was no goodwill, the simplest things became insolvable. When there is goodwill on all sides, there is no difficulty that cannot be overcome. Now it is up to all sides to decide whether there is goodwill.

The Secretary agreed that the only way in which to enter into a conference was with the philosophy just expressed.

  1. Memorandum was drafted by Dorothy Yovich of the Office of the Secretary of State.
  2. For text of the Communiqué on the Moscow Conference of the Three Foreign Ministers, December 27, 1945, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. ii, p. 815.