File No. 763.72119So

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France ( Sharp)1

[Telegram]

3352. Frazier’s No. 28, March 19, 12 noon. You may communicate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in substance the following as a statement of the attitude of this Government in regard to unofficial international conferences such as the proposed conference of representatives of the Socialist and Labor Parties of the countries at war:

The discussion of international questions of a political character by representatives of a political party or group with similar representatives from other countries can accomplish no good purpose and may seriously embarrass the government which are solely responsible to their people for the conduct of international affairs. The success of a democratic government depends upon submission to the will of the majority, which finds expression in the popular election of public agents authorized to exercise the sovereign [Page 172]power. Until those agents are replaced by the people their policies, so far as other nations are concerned, are the policies of the nation, and no course of action by individuals, except through the channels of internal politics, should be permitted when it tends to weaken or affect a government’s international policies.

Unofficial international conferences upon political subjects, since they do not and cannot express the popular will of the nations from which the delegates come, are liable to cause confusion and create false impressions which may work irreparable harm in carrying out the national policies of the responsible authorities, and this is especially true if the conferees represent minority political parties and include representatives of enemy nations.

It would, therefore, in the opinion of this Government, be unwise and dangerous to the vital interests of a nation to permit, and much less to encourage, such unauthorized conferences during the progress of war when the national safety demands unity of purpose and undivided loyalty to the Government chosen by the people.

Lansing
  1. Repeated in telegrams dated Mar. 23, to the Ambassadors in Great Britain (No. 6993) and Italy (No. 1129) with instructions, respectively, to communicate the substance to the Foreign Secretary and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.