The Secretary of State to the Norwegian Minister ( Bryn )

The Secretary of State presents his compliments to the Norwegian Minister and acknowledges the receipt of his aide-mémoire of June 23, 1924, in which the Minister, referring to previous correspondence with the Department, makes informal inquiry in behalf of his Government whether the Government of the United States would be disposed to reconsider the question whether it would raise any objection if Russia were invited to adhere to the Spitzbergen Treaty at the same time as other Powers not signatory to the same are invited to adhere thereto. In his aide-mémoire the Minister is good enough to submit a synopsis of replies received by the Norwegian Government from the Governments of France, Netherlands, Great Britain, Italy, Denmark and Sweden in relation to the matter.

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The Secretary of State desires to make the following response:

  • First. The Treaty relating to Spitzbergen signed February 9, 1920, could not be modified save by agreement of all the Powers signatory thereto: and such modification in the case of the United States would not be effective without the approval of the Senate.
  • Second. As indicated in the Department’s communication to the Norwegian Legation of April 30, 1924, the question raised must be regarded as covered by Article X of the Treaty. The provisions of the first paragraph thereof seem to have been designed primarily to safeguard the rights of Russian nationals and companies during a defined interval and until the recognition by the High Contracting Parties of a Russian Government.
  • Third. Should it be the desire of the States which have accepted the Spitzbergen Treaty to invite the adherence thereto of Russia through the medium of the regime now functioning therein, which has not been recognized by the United States, the Government of the United States would not raise an objection, provided it were clearly understood that the absence of such an objection should not be construed by any party to the Treaty or by the régime functioning in Russia as constituting the recognition of that regime by the Government of the United States.