700.00116/171

The Secretary of the Navy ( Denby ) to the Secretary of State

S C 226–110

Sir: This Department is in receipt of your letter of April 6th52 enclosing for my “information and comment” a copy of a dispatch dated February 26, 1923, from the American Delegates on the Commission of Jurists to Consider and Report upon the Revision of the Rules of Warfare, at the Hague, accompanied by several other pertinent documents.

In reply the Navy Department desires to state that the draft of an aviation code and of a radio code are in general accord with the views of the Navy Department as to the necessities and demands of naval warfare of the future, so far as can now be laid down.

[Page 88]

It has reached the Navy Department from sources other than the papers referred that at the first meeting of the Commission the delegate of one of the Powers recommended that the first question before the Commission should be to decide whether any rules whatever were needed. There is, therefore, some reason for suspecting that one or more of the Powers represented may be willing to permit the work of the Commission to be forgotten. Whether or not the draft as presented ever becomes a treaty, it will, if published, have a value for guidance in the use of new implements of warfare, as being the expression of the views of accredited representatives of the principal nations of the world after careful and laborious investigation and discussion.

I therefore venture to suggest to you the desirability of now publishing the General Report of the Commission as it stands and of embodying the two proposed codes in suitable treaty form with the least possible revision or amendment, for acceptance by the Powers represented on the Commission.

More extended comment from a naval point of view on the aviation draft code follows as Appendix A, and on the radio draft code as Appendix B.53

Very respectfully,

Edwin Denby
  1. Not printed.
  2. Neither printed.