511.3 B 1/146: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Grew) to the Secretary of State

11. I regret that the Temporary Mixed Commission had adjourned before your number 1, February 7, 7 p.m., was received.

With regard to the question of the private manufacture of arms, my statement to the Commission on February 6th was as follows:

“The second point that I have in mind was a reference in this Commission to the possible desirability of combining in one draft convention the two questions of the control of the traffic in arms and the control of the private manufacture of arms and of munitions of war. So far as my own position on this subject is concerned, I believe I should remind the members of this Commission that my instructions do not authorize me to entertain any subject other than the traffic in arms. It will be recalled that the invitation addressed to the Government of the United States on December 14th last28 mentioned this subject only and that it was on this understanding that the Government accepted the invitation in question.”

[Paraphrase.] I can inform the Commission that in view of the discussions on February 6 I asked for further instructions from my Government concerning its position with respect to the question of private production and as far as seems desirable I can set forth the views of the Department. There are two ways by which I suggest that this might be done: (1) I can write to the Secretary General of the League of Nations that my Government declines to participate in the meeting of the subcommittee on March 24 in Paris and in the same letter I can ask him to convey these further views of my Government; (2) we can be represented in the meeting of the subcommittee. When forwarding my complete written report I shall venture to include my recommendations on this point.

Second paragraph your 1, February 7, 7 p.m. I took care to explain to the Commission that administration of the control of the traffic in arms was but one of several objections of my Government. I clearly set forth the other objections at the final session. The question of administration came up at the start, which was the reason I raised objection on that point first. Lord Cecil remarked that I had presented the chief American objection to the Saint Germain Convention. Cecil added that this objection was entirely legitimate and that in his opinion it could be met. I arose at once and stated that I did not want to have an incorrect impression left and that I wished to have it clearly understood this was only one of the objections which had kept us from ratifying. I do not believe that the [Page 30] members of the Commission retained the impression that this was the all important objection.

I greatly regret that I misunderstood your no. 53, September 12, 1923,29 and especially hope that the publicity given has not embarrassed you. The matter can be satisfactorily straightened out as far as the Commission is concerned. [End paraphrase.]