Memorandum of a Press Conference of the Secretary of State, [Extract], [WASHINGTON,] June 11, 1938.


At the press conference this morning a correspondent said that there was a report in the morning newspapers to the effect that the Secretary was considering some plan in connection with the bombings, pointed toward discouraging the sale of American bombing planes abroad. Asked whether he could add anything to this report, the Secretary replied that with regard to the British invitation to participate in an investigation of bombings in Spain, the Department had not taken any affirmative action thus far. With regard to the bombing of civilian populations and the probable danger to Americans and American interests in other parts of the world, he said he had made repeated public statements condemning the bombing of civilian populations. He said that he was continuing to maintain that position and to declare to everybody that this Government does condemn the bombing of civilian populations or its material encouragement. He declared that he was saying this abroad and saying it at home to the American people and especially to the manufacturers of bombing planes.

A correspondent inquired whether in the last few days these well-known views had been expressed to the manufacturers of bombing planes. The Secretary said that he was saying these things to the American people just as he had said them for the benefit of other nations, that they had been said frequently in the past and will be said frequently in the future to the American people and to the manufacturers. A correspondent asked whether this meant that the Administration or the Government would frown on all future sales of American airplanes that could be used for bombing purposes or whether the Government would encourage them to pick their customers. The Secretary replied that his public statements condemning the bombing of civilian populations would discourage sales to regions where they would be used to bomb civilian populations.


Source: U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943, pp. 420-21


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