The Ambassador in France (Wallace) to the Secretary of State
[Received 10:20 p.m.]
1361. Mission. See my 1274, June 12 , 10 p.m., relative to notification to Germany concerning her commercial regime; this notification as slightly modified (see my 1288, June 15, 2 p.m.,14 point 8, and my 1308 June 21, 8 p.m.,14 point 3) was sent to Göppert15 on June 22. At its 67th meeting held this morning Conference of Ambassadors had before it German reply to said notification. Derby, in the absence of his commercial expert, urged that consideration of the note be postponed, on the other hand Cambon16 and Bonin considering German answer to be clearly of an unfavorable nature thought that matter should necessarily be taken up at Spa, as constituting another German violation of treaty, and in support of this argument they invoked provisions of previous decisions of the Conference (see my 1122, May 10, 8 p.m.,14 point 1). Wallace pointed out that the force of said decision was purely argumentative, that there had been no decision to refer this question to Spa, that Conference of Ambassadors was perfectly competent to deal with this question, and strongly urged that question be settled by this Conference rather than at Spa, where America has no representative. Matsui17 felt that however prior decisions of Conference were worded, it was intention of Conference to refer question to Spa, if German answer were unsatisfactory. He recognized nevertheless that in view of attitude of Derby and Wallace, Conference could not take a decision either that German reply is unscrupulous [unsatisfactory?] or that question shall be referred to Spa. It was therefore decided to put the question over until a meeting of Conference to be held next week. It was understood however that in the meantime Cambon who is leaving for Spa tomorrow afternoon [Page 288] would inform Millerand13 and Sforza14 of today’s discussion at Conference of Ambassadors and on behalf of himself and Bonin as individual Ambassadors would suggest that question be taken up by Spa Conference. Wallace earnestly requested that if matter was so taken up he be immediately informed of any solution reached so that he might immediately communicate same to his Government for its approval.
English translation of German reply is as follows:
“The German Government has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note from the Peace Conference under date of June 22nd last. In order to reply to this note, which has reference to the general principles of the economic policy of Germany in the domain of imports and exports, it will be necessary primarily to proceed to a thorough and difficult examination of the entire question, an examination which will take a certain amount of time. Consequently, the German Government reserves the right of setting forth in a more detailed manner its policy relative to imports and exports, as well as the motive inspiring the German Government in practice.
However, the German Government has the honor at this time to point out that it considers the regime of imports and exports now in force in Germany, which is, furthermore, rather complicated in part and not always easy to understand, as only a temporary measure necessitated by the economic distress of Germany, and which the German Government itself is particularly interested in simplifying as soon as the general situation will so permit. The German Government formally declares that the measures taken already, or to be taken in the future, are for the sole purpose of maintaining the solvency of Germany, and to ensure to the country in so far as possible the benefits of its production, and to place it in a position to carry out the reparation stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles, but are not intended to be any disadvantage whatsoever to any one of the Allied and Associated Powers with respect to another, or to Articles 264–269 of the treaty. In particular, after the ordinances of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission will have, henceforth, effectively reintegrated the occupied territory of the left bank of the Rhine into the economic organization of Germany, the German Government will do its best to smooth out as rapidly as possible all difficulties which were encountered by circulation [between] said territory, and non-occupied Germany, and which the German Government regrets as much as the Allied and Associated Powers. In order to set aside, in so far as possible, all the obstacles interfering with that circulation and considered as annoying by foreign importers, and with the intention of generously meeting their wishes in the matter, the German Government has resolved to suppress at once, for the majority of the merchandise in question, the organization of control which has existed under existing arrangement at the frontier between occupied and non-occupied Germany, and to consider the suppression of such control for the rest of the merchandise in the very near future. Such [Page 289] an offer seems to be of a nature to give proof of the spirit of equity and conciliation guiding the German Government in the ensemble of the question under discussion. Accept, et cetera, signed Göppert.”