The Acting Secretary of State to the Brazilian Ambassadora

My Dear Mr. Ambassador: This Government recently instructed its ambassador at St. Petersburg to ascertain from the Russian Government what answer had been received from the signatory powers of the first arbitration treaty of the First Peace Conference to the proposal that the adherence of the nonsignatory American States should be accepted, so as to enable them all to participate in the Second Conference. I am to-day advised by Ambassador Riddle by cable that he is informed by the Russian minister for foreign affairs that assents have been received by Russia from all the signatories except Belgium, China, and Turkey, which have not yet replied.

For greater convenience in appreciating the true force of this information, let me restate the various steps which have been taken upon this subject:

1. In a note dated April 12, 1906, the Russian Government remarked that several of the States invited to participate in the Second Conference had not taken part in the First Conference, and that a difficulty of form only stood in the way of their admission to the Second Conference, that difficulty consisting of the fact that they had not adhered to the arbitration treaty signed at the First Conference and could not adhere without an agreement between the signatory powers.

That difficulty Russia proposed to dispose of by the suggestion that on the opening of the Second Conference the representatives of the States, parties to the First Conference, should sign the following protocol:

The representatives at the Second Peace Conference of the States signatories of the convention of 1899 relative to the peaceful settlement of international disputes, duly authorized to that effect, have agreed that in case the States that were not represented at the First Peace Conference, but have been convoked to the present conference, should notify the Government of the Netherlands of their adhesion to the above-mentioned convention they shall be forthwith considered as having acceded thereto.

The assent of the signatory powers to this proposal was asked by Russia.

2. The United States promptly gave its assent to the course in a reply which said:

It is the understanding of the United States that should the other powers who took part in that conference (the First Conference) assent to the proposal of your note of April 12, that assent in itself will have the effect of making it certain that the adhesion of the powers which did not take part in the First Conference will be accepted, so that their representatives can go to the Second Conference without feeling that there is any uncertainty as to whether they can take full part in the conference.

3. To this note the Russian Government replied as follows:

The desire that the newly invited powers be permitted from the outset to participate in the conference is the basis of our project for the settlement of [Page 1114] the question of their adhering to the first convention of 1899. If all the signatory powers accept this procedure, the conference will not have to pass upon the question of adhesion. To our mind, the conference will have but to take formal notice of that fact at its first session, in which all the powers that have adhered to the second and third conventions and declared their desire to adhere to the first shall be permitted to take part.

The fact that the necessary assent to this procedure has been received from all the powers except Belgium, China, and Turkey, which have not yet replied, seems to leave no doubt that the Russian proposal will be accepted by all the powers and to justify preparations for attendance at the Second Conference upon this assumption.

I have communicated this information under the impression that it may contribute to your convenience, in view of the fact that the time before the meeting of the conference is growing short and that the Russian Government may not deem it proper to communicate with you until all the answers have been received.

I am, etc.,

Robert Bacon.
  1. The above note also sent to minister to Uruguay, minister to Dominican Republic, minister to Panama, minister to Nicaragua, minister to Peru, chargé d’affaires ad interim of Guatemala, chargé d’affaires ad interim of Honduras, minister of Costa Rica, minister of Colombia, minister of Bolivia, minister of Argentine Republic, minister of Haiti, chargé d’affaires ad interim of Chile, chargé d’affaires ad interim of Venezuela, minister of Ecuador.