The Senior Member Present of the General Board,
Navy Department (Rodgers) to the Secretary
of the Navy (Denby)
Washington, November 1,
G. B. No. 438
(Serial No. 1125)
Subject: Laws of War.
References: (a) Navy Department’s letter
3809–959:190, Op–12 B of April 29, 1922.
(b) Resolutions Nos. 1 and 2 adopted by the
Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Sixth Plenary
Session, February 4, 1922.
The General Board has considered the above subject in accordance with
the Department’s order of April 29, 1922, reference (a). Since the date of the order an
international commission has been appointed to meet at The Hague
December 10, 1922, and the Secretary of State has requested that a
representative of the Navy Department be appointed to confer with
representatives from the War Department and from the State
Department to report to the State Department [Page 49] as to suitable rules of warfare to
be supported by the American delegate at The Hague. The Secretary of
the Navy appointed a member of the General Board, Bear Admiral W. L.
Rodgers, U.S.N., as the Navy Department representative. There have
been frequent meetings of the inter-departmental committee. The
General Board has thus had the advantage of becoming acquainted with
the views of the War Department on the subject and has profited
2. The General Board recommends the following international rules for
the use of radio in war:—
1. The erection or operation of radio stations within neutral
jurisdiction by a belligerent is a violation of neutrality.
Neutral governments are under obligation to use due diligence in
preventing radio stations within their jurisdiction from rendering
unneutral service to either belligerent.
2. Belligerents may regulate or prevent radio messages, even from a
- On the high seas within the zone of military operations,
- Within their own territory and within the areas under
their military control.
Such regulations to be binding upon neutrals, must have been
seasonably notified to the neutral governments.
3. Neutral ships or neutral aircraft that send radio messages in
violation of the belligerent radio regulations made in virtue of the
preceding paragraph are liable to seizure and condemnation as for
unneutral service at any time during the war.
4. Violation of belligerent radio regulations is not in itself an act
5. Radio operators shall have the same status as bearers of
6. The perversion of emergency signals of distress to any other
purpose is prohibited.
3. The Board submits as an appendix the rules for radio above
proposed, together with the most recent tentative draft of rules for
radio brought forward by the War Department representatives to the
inter-departmental committee, arranged in parallel columns, together
with the General Board’s comments upon and comparison of the two