The Norwegian Minister ( Bryn ) to the Secretary of State


In a note dated March 20, 1924, the Norwegian Minister, acting under instructions from his Government, asked whether the United States of America would raise any objection if Russia should be invited to adhere to the Spitsbergen Treaty at the same time as the other powers not signatory to the Treaty are invited to adhere.

In a note, dated April 30, 1924, His Excellency the Secretary of State replied that the question appears to be covered by the provisions of Article 10 of the Spitsbergen Treaty as effective between the high contracting parties.

As the Secretary’s note seems not to give a definite reply, the Norwegian Government has instructed the Minister to approach again the Department of State informally, at the same time making the Department acquainted with the attitude taken by the other powers.

The Minister therefore begs to submit the following synopsis of the replies received by the Norwegian Government from the various powers interested:

France. In a note to the Norwegian Minister in Paris, dated March 22, 1924, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Poincaré, states that the powers which have not yet recognized the Union of the Socialist Soviet Republics, could not without infringement of Article 10 of the Spitsbergen Treaty, actually admit Russia to adhere to the Treaty, but the French Government has, in deference to the desire of the Norwegian Government, sought a means to secure the adhesion of the Soviet Government without furnishing this one an opportunity to avail itself of Article 10 in order to pretend that it has been recognized by all the signatory powers. Monsieur Poincare has therefore, so he further says, decided to confer on this point with those of the signatory powers which have not recognized the Soviet Government.

[Page 4]

Netherlands. In a note dated April 14, the Dutch Foreign Minister states that Her Majesty’s Government is disposed to render its co-operation in order that the desire of the Norwegian Government may be met, but an agreement to that effect cannot be concluded until after the ratification of the Spitsbergen Treaty. Monsieur van Karnebeek has notified the French Government accordingly.

Great Britain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden. The Governments of these countries have replied that they have no objection against inviting the Soviet Government to adhere to the Spitsbergen Treaty at the same time as the other non-signatory powers.

Japan. The Japanese Government is the only one from which nothing has been heard as yet.5

The Norwegian Minister will be thankful to know whether the Government of the United States in consideration of the above information might be disposed to reconsider the question raised by the Norwegian Government.

Mr. Bryn avails himself of this opportunity to renew to Mr. Hughes the assurances of his highest consideration.

  1. In a note dated June 26, 1924, the Norwegian Minister informed the Secretary of State that the Norwegian Government had received a communication from the Japanese Government to the effect that it had no objection to inviting the Russian Government to adhere to the Spitzbergen Treaty, provided all signatory powers agree on this point (file no. 857h.01/23).