511.3 B 1/197: Telegram
The Minister in Switzerland ( Gibson ) to the Secretary of State
[Received August 30—3:07 a.m.]
76. Drummond’s communication to you dated August 18th is as follows:
“At its coming meeting the Council of the League of Nations will consider the report and draft convention prepared by the Temporary Mixed Commission for the reduction of armaments as a result of the following resolution of the Fourth Assembly:
‘The Assembly recommends that the Temporary Mixed Commission should be invited to prepare a new convention or convention[s] to replace that of St. Germain for the control of the traffic in arms.
The Temporary Mixed Commission should be requested to draw up the draft convention or conventions in such a form that they might be accepted by the government[s] of all countries which produce arms or munitions of war.
The Temporary Mixed Commission should however also make alternative proposals for a convention or conventions which might be adopted by some of the producing powers even if others refused their cooperation.
The Assembly recommends that the Council should invite the United States Government to appoint representatives to cooperate with the Temporary Mixed Commission in preparing the draft convention or conventions.’
Following upon an invitation extended by the Acting President of the Council your Government was good enough to delegate its representative in Berne to attend the meeting of the Temporary Mixed Commission in order to receive information with regard to the proposals made respecting this draft convention.
The Temporary Mixed Commission in its report expressed their appreciation of the valuable assistance afforded to them by Mr. Grew and later by Mr. Gibson in the carrying out of the task entrusted to it by the Assembly and the Council. Special stress is laid in this report on the study given by the commission to the views of the Government of the United States with reference to the Convention of St. Germain and to the means by which, in the draft prepared by it, such views might be so far as possible met.
The draft convention prepared by the Temporary Mixed Commission together with the report at present under consideration by the Council will in due time be discussed at the Assembly with a view to considering whether the draft convention affords a sufficient basis to convoke an international conference for the purpose of adopting such a convention as has been contemplated. In view of the fact that the position of the United States in this matter has been considered as an important factor by the Assembly, the Council and its expert commissions, the members of the Council feel that the fullest opportunity should be afforded to your Government to follow every step in the development of this question and therefore that it would be of [Page 74] the greatest importance for the success of the work that a representative of the Government of the United States should be present during the meetings of the third committee of the coming Assembly which is to discuss the matter, and that his presence would be very highly appreciated by the third committee.
To this end, therefore, I am directed by the acting President of the Council to state that the members of the Council are in agreement that the presence of a representative of the United States Government at the time of the meetings of the third committee of the Assembly would be of great value, and to extend to the Government of the United States, an invitation in this sense.
I have the honor to enclose herewith for your information two copies of the report of the Temporary Mixed Commission to which reference is made above.”
My reply to Drummond dated today is as follows:
“I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of your note of August 18th and to inform you that I did not fail to transmit immediately to the Secretary of State the communication from the Council of the League of Nations inviting my Government to have a representative present at the meetings of the third committee of the forthcoming Assembly which is to discuss the question of the control of the traffic in arms.
I am now in receipt of a reply from the Secretary of State48 desiring me to express, on behalf of my Government, its cordial appreciation of the courtesy shown by the Council in extending this invitation.
The Government of the United States has been happy to be represented at the meetings of the Temporary Mixed Commission and of its sub-committee. Its views have been fully explained on those occasions, and it is felt that they could not be usefully amplified by having a representative present at the meeting of the third committee.
It is observed from the invitation that the third committee will discuss this matter with a view to considering whether the draft convention affords a sufficient basis to convoke an international conference for the purpose of adopting such a convention as has been contemplated.
The Government of the United States, as is well known, is in cordial sympathy with efforts of supervisory power [suitably?] to restrict traffic in arms and ammunition of war, and it will be glad to cooperate in the formulation of any plan which would warrant the belief that necessary legislation could be obtained to give it effect.
To this end the United States would be disposed to give favorable consideration to an invitation to participate in an appropriate international conference of powers for the purpose of negotiating and concluding such a convention.”
- Not printed.↩