File No. 711.0012/102a.
To the diplomatic officers of the United States in Argentina, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Haiti, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Sweden.
Washington, July 7, 1913.
Sir: The following nations: Argentina, Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Haiti, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Santo Domingo, Spain and Sweden, have announced their acceptance [Page 10] of the principle embodied in the President’s peace plan, a copy of which I herewith enclose.
I have submitted to the Washington representatives of those countries a copy of a memorandum, which I also enclose, covering the suggested details. It occurs to me that it might be well for you to supplement the work that is being done through the representatives here by bringing these details to the attention of the Foreign Office and explaining them. They are offered merely by way of suggestion and we are prepared to consider anything that the other countries may suggest as a means of perfecting the plan.
It is very gratifying to the President and to myself that the plan has been so quickly and so widely accepted. We believe that it will go forward toward the prevention of war, and I think that by fall we will have reached an understanding with all the nations in regard to both the principle and the details and thus be able to complete the treaties during the present year.
I am [etc.]
president wilson’s peace proposal.
The parties hereto agree that all questions of whatever character and nature, in dispute between them, shall, when diplomatic efforts fail, be submitted for investigation and report to an international commission (the composition to be agreed upon); and the contracting parties agree not to declare war or begin hostilities until such investigation is made and report submitted.
The investigation shall be conducted as a matter of course upon the initiative of the commission, without the formality of a request from either party; the report shall be submitted within (time to be agreed upon) from the date of the submission of the dispute, but the parties hereto reserve the right to act independently on the subject matter in dispute after the report is submitted.
supplementary memorandum by the secretary of state.
In the peace plan proposed by the President to all the nations, the composition of the International Commission is left to agreement between the parties, and I am authorized to suggest for the consideration of those who are willing to enter into this agreement:
- That the International Commission be of five members, to be composed as follows: one member from each of the contracting countries, to be chosen by the Government; one member to be chosen by each of the contracting countries from some other country, and the fifth member of the Commission to be agreed upon by the two Governments, the Commission to be appointed as soon as convenient after the making of the treaty, vacancies to be filled according to the original appointment.
- The time also is to be agreed upon, and it is suggested that that time be one year. If a year is considered too long or too short, this Government will consider either a greater or a less period.
- This Government is prepared to consider the question of maintaining the status quo as to military and naval preparation during the period of investigation, if the contracting nation desires to include this, and this Government suggests tentatively that the parties agree that there shall be no change in the military and naval program during the period of investigation unless danger to one of the contracting parties from a third power compels a change in said program; in which case the party feeling itself menaced by a third power, shall confidentially communicate the matter in writing to the other contracting party and it shall thereupon be released from the obligation not to change its military or naval program, and this release will at the same time operate as a release of the other contracting party. This protects each party from the other in ordinary cases, and yet provides freedom of action in emergencies.
All of these suggestions, however, are presented for consideration, and not with the intention of imposing any fixed conditions. The principle of investigation being accepted, the details are matters for conference and consideration.