File No. 763.72112/268

The Ambassador in France ( Herrick ) to the Secretary of State


234. Referring to Department’s circular telegram of September 24.1 . . . The French Government replies in substance as follows:

While appreciating the humanitarian attitude of the United States Government, the French Government does not think the moment propitious for agreement between belligerents, even on a subject which by its character should be placed beyond reach of conflict. Experience of contempt which certain belligerents show for international conventions to which they have agreed gives grounds for apprehension that they would not observe a new agreement nor execute its provisions as soon as it was to their advantage not to do so. The French Government recalls that definition of objects mentioned in Article 29 of the Declaration of London was summarily made in the general report at the London conference by the drafting committee, and it was thus agreed that the immunity established under Article 29 applied to drugs and various medicines. The French Government adds that while it might be a delicate matter to be more precise and extend obligations of belligerents during war beyond where they were fixed in time of peace, nevertheless it would not refuse to study the suggestions of the American Government to draw up a list of drugs and medicines whose character as “articles serving exclusively to aid the sick and wounded” shall be closely defined. Full text follows by mail.2

  1. Ante, p. 831.
  2. Not printed. At this point the negotiation lapsed and was not revived again in 1914.