The Ambassador in France (Wallace) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 6—2:56 a.m.]
1778. Professor Mantoux of the League of Nations has inquired, informally on behalf of Leon Bourgeois, whether you would be prepared to nominate an American whom Bourgeois might appoint on a special committee to be set up under the following resolution taken by the Council of League at its last meeting of September 20:
“The Council of the League of Nations, having been invited by Great Britain to examine the question of the Aaland Islands, having considered the advisory report furnished at its request by a commission of international jurists, recognizing the duties imposed upon it by articles 11 and 4 [14?] of the Covenant in the supreme interest of peace between nations, declares itself in accordance with the conclusions of the report competent to make any recommendation[s] which it deems just and proper in the case ‘ and appoints (blank) to furnish the Council, in the shortest time required for the necessary consultation[s], and having regard to the legitimate interests of all parties concerned, with a report which will enable it to frame a final or provisional settlement of the question and to establish conditions favorable to the maintenance of peace in that part of the world.”
Baron Beyens, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, has accepted; Ferraris of Italy is willing to accept but has not yet received the consent of his Government; Axinneer [Calonder?] of the Swiss Foreign Office has not yet replied but his Government is willing that he should serve.
Mantoux tells me that Bourgeois and Balfour are very anxious to have an American as fourth member of the committee.
If these three are finally appointed it is hoped they can commence their preliminary labors here in ten days; they will alone constitute the committee if no American is appointed.
Work of committee will not be confined to considerations of law or theory. They should seek to find an acceptable compromise based on considerations of common sense and political expediency.
It is desired American nominee should have these qualifications and also be a man of international reputation.
Work of committee will probably last two months and require a visit to Sweden, Finland, and possibly the Aaland Islands. Committee’s report should be ready for the probable meeting of the Council shortly before Christmas. Please instruct as soon as possible.