The Secretary of State to the American Representative on the Commission of Jurists ( Moore )

Sir: There are transmitted herewith for your information and for your guidance in the conferences of the Commission of Jurists, appointed under Resolution No. 1, adopted at Washington by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, at the Sixth Plenary Session, February 4, 1922, to consider what changes may be desirable in existing rules of international law because of the introduction or development of new agencies of warfare since The Hague Conference of 1907, copies of drafts of rules proposed respectively by the War and Navy Departments of this Government for the regulation of belligerent and neutral aircraft and radio activities in time of war.48

In view of Resolution No. 2, also adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, at the Sixth Plenary Session, February 4, 1922, that it is not the intention of the Powers agreeing to the appointment of the Commission that the Commission shall review or report upon the rules or declarations relating to submarines or the use of noxious gases and chemicals already adopted in that conference, [Page 64] it is my opinion that the Commission should not consider the rules of law relating to these agencies and that its discussions and report should be confined to aviation and radio. The American Ambassadors at London, Paris, Rome and Tokyo were informed of this view by telegram on November 6, 1922,49 and were instructed to bring it to the attention of the respective Governments and inquire whether they concur in it.

By telegram, dated November 15, 1922,49 Ambassador Harvey reported that the British Foreign Office informed him that topics relative to the agenda and limitation of the discussions and report of the Commission would have to be submitted to the new cabinet and that no decision with regard to them could be expected before the end of November. Ambassador Harvey suggested that the American delegation pass through London enroute to The Hague for the purpose of having an opportunity to confer with the British delegates. I did not consider it to be desirable to instruct you to proceed to London for this purpose or to authorize your military and naval advisers who were on the eve of sailing to engage in a conference on these questions with the advisers of the British representatives. No replies have been received from the Ambassadors at Paris, Rome or Tokyo as to the views of the French, Italian and Japanese governments with regard to the topics which shall be considered and reported upon by the Commission. Whatever information as to the views of those governments is received will be communicated to you.

The proposals for rules for the regulation of aircraft and radio activities in time of war which are transmitted herewith were drafted in consultation by officers of the War and Navy Departments duly accredited to study the questions to be discussed and reported upon by the Commission of Jurists. The drafts emanating from each Department were approved by the Secretary of that Department and were transmitted to me by him.

While the drafts proposed by the two Departments are in general accord they differ in several particulars as to substance. The corresponding rules of the two drafts on each subject are stated in different form throughout as well with respect to the points on which there is no difference of opinion between the Army and the Navy Departments concerning the rule which is desirable as with respect to the points on which their views do not harmonize. The military and naval advisers are prepared to indicate these differences to you and to inform you of the advantages of the rules proposed by their respective Departments.

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In the conferences of the Commission, you will support the proposals with respect to the points on which there is no material difference between the Army and Navy drafts as representing the views of this Government unless these proposals appear to you to be objectionable or are so irreconcilable with the proposals of the Representatives of other powers that an agreement on the point seems impossible of attainment. In the event that any of the proposed rules with respect to aviation and radio upon which the military and naval advisers have agreed seem to you to be seriously objectionable, you will endeavor to obtain their concurrence to such a rule as you consider desirable with respect to the point.

As you inform yourself of the trend of the views of the Representatives of the other powers with respect to rules on the several points on which the proposals of the Army and Navy draft differ in substance and with respect to proposals of your own made in accordance with the preceding paragraph, for necessary modifications in the rules on points on which the drafts prepared by the War and Navy Departments are in agreement, you will be in a position to determine which of the divergent views in such cases most closely accords with the collective opinion of the Commission. Upon further consultation with your military and naval advisers you will endeavor to reach a decision in which they will concur as to the position which this government should adopt with regard to these points. In the event that in either situation you are unsuccessful in proposing a different rule to which they offer no forcible objection, you will report the point to me by telegram with your recommendations.

In each case in which points of serious difference exist between the rules which you support as a member of the Commission in pursuance of this instruction and the collective opinion of the Commission, you are requested to submit the facts with your recommendations to me by telegram for instructions before ceding any point of this Government’s position.

Having the purpose to rely largely on your experience and judgment for the determination of the policy of this government and on your tact and talent in persuading others to agree with your decisions, I desire that the questions which you refer to me should be limited if possible to such as involve a change from the rules on which the proposals of the Army and Navy drafts are in accord, or a surrender of your own views to the collective judgment of the Commission.

Expressing the hope that your mission and its duties may be pleasant and the results gratifying to yourself, your colleagues, and the governments which you represent,

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. Ante, pp. 48 ff.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.