(See front cover)
The dark, drafty corridors of the gingerbread building that houses the Department of State were thronged last week by foreign ambassadors and ministers marching & countermarching at a tempo set by the White House. The moose-tall figure of Britain's Sir Ronald Lindsay came & went repeatedly at the spacious office of Secretary of State Cordell Hull. France's plump, smiling Paul Claudel, soon going home, clicked his heels up & down the stone floors. In the Secretary's anteroom with its stiff jet-black furniture and portraits of Hughes. Lansing, Colby and Kellogg, Italy's Augusto Rosso, proud of his "Americanism." waited his turn. So did Belgium's May, gazing wistfully out the window at the Victory monument of the A. E. F.'s First Division.* Other callers included Spain's de Cardenas, Sweden's Bostrom, Czechoslovakia's Veverka, Denmark's Wadsted.
Cause of all the diplomatic commotion was the fact that President Roosevelt, after a month's concentration on domestic depression, was working up steam for an international attack on the world depression. Last week's hustle & bustle about Secretary Hull's office marked the Government's first active preparation to take the lead in the forthcoming League of Nations' Monetary & Economic Conference.
President Roosevelt had thought long and hard about this World Conference, which grew out of last year's Reparations meeting at Lausanne. President Hoover, accepting the League's invitation to attend, had despatched to Geneva Edmund Ezra Day of the Rockefeller Foundation and John Henry Williams, Harvard professor of economics, as U. S. delegates to help draft agenda. London was picked as the meeting place and Ramsay MacDonald, Britain's Prime Minister, consented to serve as chairman. Still unsettled was the opening date.
Though in his campaign be disputed the Hoover theme-song that the Depression was "world-wide," Franklin Roosevelt, as President, knows as well as any man that there can be no general economic recovery without the concerted action of all nations. He also knows that the World Conference at London would fail dismally if "opened cold" without preliminary negotiations. He believes in the efficacy of personal contact. He likes to be his own negotiator. And he has been saying for months: "If only MacDonald and I could sit down together."
"Bring Your Family.' Last week a sitting-down-together by the President and the Prime Minister was suddenly and expertly arranged. In London was Norman Hezekiah Davis. President Hoover's Man-about-Europe and now President Roosevelt's Ambassador-at-Large. He called on Prime Minister MacDonald. In Washington two days later Ambassador Lindsay was summoned to the State Department, handed a personal message from President Roosevelt to be transmitted to Prime Minister MacDonald. Excerpt: