511.4 A 1/1788: Telegram

The Chief of the American Delegation at the Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium (Porter) to the Secretary of State

Upon arrival we sent a note to the Secretary-General of the League informing him of our arrival in response to their invitation and our desire to present our proposals at the Committee’s convenience. In reply we were requested to be present at the meeting and to present our proposals on the morning of the 25th. The meetings on the 24th were devoted to organization and we did not appear as we had not received an answer to our communication. The Committee decided upon public sessions. After our presentation the chairman requested the views of the Committee on the principles advocated. The representatives of Germany, Portugal, Siam and China approved without reservations. The representatives of Japan, the Netherlands and India declared against them. The representatives of Great Britain and France did not definitely commit themselves. The question was set down for final decision on the agenda under the head of the legitimate needs of opium probably on Monday or Tuesday. It is worth noting that the only objections to our proposals come from representatives of governments which derive a [Page 105] substantial revenue from opium monopolies. We have carefully avoided any act which could be construed as an acknowledgment that we were a constituent part of the Committee holding ourselves and the Committee as separate entities. This prevents our being placed in an embarrassing position as we cannot be expected to vote upon questions that are the concern of the League of Nations. The British are in the position of having two votes. India has no more right to be represented on a question of contractual treaty relations between United States and the British Empire than has the Philippine Islands, and yet India’s vote in the Committee may be decisive. In case this arises we intend to challenge the right of India to vote on the ground that she is a stranger to the Hague opium convention.