Minister Hill to the Secretary of State.

No. 206.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of department’s instruction No. 72, of March 18, 1907, inclosing a copy of a circular note to the American nonsignatories, relative to their adherence to The Hague Convention of 1899, and also the following telegram of March 29:

American Legation,
The Hague:

Minister to China reports Chinese Government assents Russian proposal adherence nonsignatories and will send telegraphic instructions.


[Page 1120]

As the circular had not been received when the telegrams of March 27 and 28 were exchanged between the department and this legation, I have thought it expedient, although the purpose of the department’s inquiry regarding the status of Turkey was clearly understood, in order to be certain that no embarrassment would arise regarding the adhesion of the American nonsignatories, to discuss the subject with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands in the light of this new information.

I may state, therefore, that the Government of the Netherlands shares the view that, as Turkey has not yet ratified The Hague conventions, her assent would not be necessary to the unanimous assent of the powers taking part in the First Conference. If, therefore, as stated, the assent of China has been obtained, and the assent of Belgium is given on condition that the other powers agree, unanimity has already been obtained, unless Turkey should now ratify the treaties, in which case her assent also should be requested. This would naturally be done by the Russian Government; and it is suggested that, in view of the contingency of her ratification at the last moment, Turkey should be requested to take action upon that proposal at the same time that she performs her act of ratification.

The minister of the Netherlands is of the opinion that no embarrassment is likely to arise with reference to the admission of the nonsignatories invited to attend the Second Conference, provided the delegates of those powers are duly provided with full powers authorizing adhesion to the conventions of 1899 by their respective Governments. It is important, however, that they should possess powers to this effect admitting of no doubt or ambiguity, as adhesion to these conventions will be necessary to admission to the conference.

The minister informs me that he will expect signatures to the protocol on the part of the assenting Governments and notification of adherence by the nonsignatories, as preliminaries of the Second Conference, and advises that these be promptly produced, in order to avoid embarrassing questions.

I have, etc.,

David J. Hill.