893.24/4–447: Telegram

The Ambassador in Belgium (Kirk) to the Secretary of State

553. Schroeder, son of head of Fabrique Nationale, called today to inquire specifically whether US Government contemplated initiating international action to embargo arms shipments to China.

He was told in confidence that General Marshall had reached conclusion export of munitions from US to China not conducive to unity, that US had last year suspended export licenses to China, that British Government had taken similar action and that we understood Canadians were doing likewise. (Deptel 397, March 25) He said he knew all that and added that at Dunkirk meeting Bevin69 had proposed and Bidault70 agreed that France should take similar action. He said French position easy to understand due Communist strength in France and possibility of arms reaching Viet Nam from China. He [Page 817] thought Marshall might tell Molotov71 principal western powers had stopped exporting arms to China and ask Russia do likewise.

We declined to speculate on what action US Government might take in future. He rather naively hoped we could advise him should we initiate embargo action since company would face substantial loss should it begin work on order and be confronted with Belgian embargo before it was completed. He maintained that order covered no arms and only 10 million rounds of ammunition. He stated his father’s trip to China was to promote sale of numerous non-military products.

He is director of Société Générale (as well as ammunition) and [said?] that father expected shortly to complete naturalization as American citizen. Foreign Office being advised of foregoing.

  1. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Georges Bidault, French Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, Soviet Minister for Foreign Affairs.