511.4 A 1/1687
The Secretary General of the League of Nations ( Drummond ) to the Secretary of State
[Received October 26.]
Sir: I have the honour to draw your attention to the following resolution unanimously adopted on September 19th, 1922, by the Third Assembly of the League of Nations on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium:
“The Assembly, convinced of the urgent necessity of securing the fullest possible co-operation in the work of the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium and other Dangerous Drugs, and considering the fact that the United States of America is one of the most important manufacturing and importing countries, recommends to the Council of the League that it should address a pressing invitation to the Government of the United States to nominate a member to serve on the Committee.”
The Council, acting on this recommendation, at its meeting on September 26th, 1922, adopted the following resolution:
“The Council of the League of Nations, having taken cognisance of the resolutions on the subject of the traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs, adopted by the Assembly on September 19th, 1922, decides:
“To instruct the Secretary-General to address, in its name, a pressing invitation to the Government of the United States of America, to nominate a member to serve on the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium.”
It will be remembered that in accordance with the resolution adopted by the First Assembly on December 15th, 1920, an Advisory Committee was appointed by the Council consisting of representatives of the following countries, which may be said to be those most intimately interested in the opium problem:
and three assessors, appointed for their special knowledge of the question, including Mrs. Hamilton Wright, an American citizen who had long been identified with this work.
This Committee was charged with “the general supervision over the execution of agreements with regard to the traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs” and the consideration of all such international questions relative to the traffic in opium which may be submitted to it for consideration.
The Committee held its First Meeting from May 2–5, 1921, with the following membership:
|China||His Excellency Tang Tsai-Fou.|
|France||Monsieur Gaston Kahn.|
|Great Britain||Sir Malcolm Delevingne, K.C.B.|
|Netherlands||Monsieur W–G van Wettum.|
|India||Mr. John Campbell.|
|Japan||His Excellency A. Ariyoshi.|
|Portugal||His Excellency B. Ferreira.|
|Siam||His Excellency Prince Charoon.|
|Assessors||Monsieur Henri Brenier.
Sir John Jordan, G.C.I.E. etc.
Mrs. Hamilton Wright.
and it will no doubt be of interest to the Government of the United States of America to know what work it has accomplished and dealt with since this meeting.
In order to ensure universal agreement on the only plan then existing for combatting the opium traffic, the first action of the Committee was to issue an appeal to all countries to become Parties, if they had not already done so, to the Opium Convention of 1912.62 Since this appeal was issued, nine Governments, in addition to those who had already done so, have signed or ratified this Convention.
In order to express the problem in terms of figures, the Advisory Committee, also at its First Meeting, drew up a Questionnaire on the cultivation, production, and manufacture of opium and other dangerous drugs, which was sent out to all States. Replies were received from the following 39 Governments, a summary of which [Page 91] formed the basis of discussion at the Second Meeting of the Advisory Committee held from April 19th to 29th, 1922:
- Union of South Africa
- Dominican Republic
- France & Colonies
- Great Britain & Colonies
- Netherlands & Dutch East Indies
- New Zealand
- Serb-Croat-Slovene State
At this Second Meeting, a draft Importation Certificate, which the Committee recommended should be used by all countries to ensure adequate control of exports and imports, was drawn up and all States were invited to adopt this form and to bring it into force with as little delay as possible. Twenty-six Governments, namely,
- Union of South Africa
- Great Britain
- New Zealand
have already notified the League of their willingness to accept the principle of the system, which it is hoped will come into force on January 1st, 1923.
In order to collate all pertinent information on the opium problem and to ensure this information being kept up-to-date, the Committee also prepared a comprehensive form of Annual Report which it recommended to all States for adoption. In this Report each country is asked to furnish detailed information as to the general control of the traffic in its territories, the regulation of imports and exports, [Page 92] the control of particular drugs and all prepared opium. It also asks that information may be forthcoming as to production, manufacture, import and export of morphine, cocaine, heroin and other drugs.
As the most effective method of ascertaining how much opium should be produced for legitimate consumption, governments have also been requested in separate communications, to state their requirements for domestic consumption of opium and its derivatives.
Apart from the question of opium, the Committee gave special attention to the daily increasing abuse of cocaine. They asked that the Governments might be invited to furnish as close an estimate as possible of the annual requirements of cocaine in their respective countries. It may be of interest to quote from the Report of the Committee:
“it is notorious that a large illicit traffic is being carried on in the countries of Western Europe and America as well as in the Far East, particularly in morphine and cocaine. In spite of the activity of the police and the heavy penalties imposed, the traffic is extremely difficult to check on account of the ease with which the drugs can be secretly conveyed, and so far it appears to have proved impossible to discover the means by which the drugs are obtained or the persons by whom the traffic is organised. Here too it seems clear that the most effective method of putting a stop to the traffic is to control production. In the case of cocaine, this should not be a difficult matter. The manufacture of cocaine is an elaborate process and can only be undertaken by expert chemists. Cocaine also is employed to a much smaller extent and for a much more limited number of purposes than morphine, and it should accordingly be easier to arrive at an approximate estimate of the world’s requirements.”
The Committee forwarded to all States a list of drugs which produce similar effects as those mentioned in the Convention of 1912, with a request that the Administrative Departments concerned should give careful study and consideration to the question as to whether these drugs should be subject to the same restrictions as the drugs at present specifically mentioned in the Opium Convention.
It was agreed that the Committee should form with the International Commission for Communications and Transit, a sub-committee for the consideration of how best the passage of drugs through Free Ports and Free Zones could be controlled. It was also decided that, in conjunction with the Health Committee of the League, an extensive enquiry into the drug requirements for world medical and scientific purposes should be made.
The Committee has considered from time to time the advisability of the calling of an International Conference, but it was of opinion that a logical sequence of action must be followed and that certain information, which it is in process of obtaining, should be made available before such a Conference is held, if it is to serve a useful purpose.[Page 93]
The extent to which cultivation is carried on, the world’s production and the requirements of each country for domestic consumption must first be ascertained. When these facts are known, the next steps may be, it is hoped, the framing of a comprehensive policy which will make it possible for the various governments to co-operate in striking at the root of the evil by limiting the world’s supply to its legitimate purposes, by the control of exports and imports and finally by effective national legislation in all countries. The Advisory Committee laid great stress on the fact that if this plan of action is to be carried out effectively, the co-operation of all countries of the world (and particularly those countries which either cultivate opium or manufacture its derivatives) is a necessity.
Germany is already co-operating and has appointed a member to the Advisory Committee. The United States of America is not only one of the most important manufacturing and importing countries, but has always been one of the prime movers in the struggle against this evil and has recently taken active legislative steps in her efforts to control production and export in drugs in her own country.
At the recent meeting of the Committee, questions arose, the discussion of which, the Committee stated, was hampered by the lack of official information from the United States of America. The presence of a representative of that Government would not only be of the greatest possible assistance to the Committee, but, by the collaboration of America with the efforts of other nations, would help to make effective the measures the United States of America has already taken.
In view of the special circumstances and of the need for the co-operation of all countries if the existing abuse of drugs is to be successfully stamped out, it is earnestly hoped that the United States of America may find it possible to appoint an expert to take part in the work of the Committee. As the next meeting of the Committee is to take place in the first fortnight of January, an early answer would be much appreciated.
I have the honour to enclose with this letter, copies of the Report of the Second Session of the Advisory Committee, the Report of the Fifth Commission to the Assembly and the Report to the Council.63
I have [etc.]