The Ambassador in France (Herrick) to the Secretary of State

No. 4941

Sir: With reference to my telegram No. 170 of March 11, 3 p.m.,85 I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy and translation of the reply from the French Foreign Office, dated March 10th, with regard to the two conventions proposed at The Hague on February 12, 1923, for the Control of Radio in Time of War and Rules for Aerial Warfare.

I am forwarding a copy of this despatch with its enclosures to the American Embassy at Rome and the American Legation at The Hague for their information.

I have [etc.]

Myron T. Herrick

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs (Herriot) to the American Ambassador (Herrick)

Mr. Ambassador: Your Excellency was good enough, in a letter dated February 4, 1924, to inform my predecessor that the Government of the United States of America proposed to incorporate in a new Convention the rules prepared by the Commission of Jurists which met at The Hague from December 11, 1922 to February 19, 1923. The French Government recognizes the very deep interest which this suggestion possesses, but an examination of the rules that have been proposed has shown that most of them reproduce solutions which have already been adopted by France and included either in the International Conventions already in force, such as The Hague Convention of 1907,86 or amongst the practices of international law sanctioned by custom.

Other proposals, furthermore, would not be without objection, because, on many points, the innovations which they imply are not in conformity with certain principles, such as the freedom of the seas, or are open to criticism from other points of view.

The provisions with regard to aerial warfare which the aforementioned Commission has more especially endeavored to regulate, are already included to a great extent in the Convention on Aerial [Page 106]Navigation of October 13, 1919,87 but at times have a tendency to deviate therefrom.

The ratification by the United States of the Air Convention of 1919, which they have already signed, would have the advantage of putting immediately into practice the provisions already accepted for several years and which have received a contractual basis, while the present suggestion of the Government of the United States would risk delaying their application by raising fresh discussions, either as to fundamental principles or form, which might be lengthy, in view of the number of States which would be called upon to take part therein.

Please accept [etc.]

  1. Not printed.
  2. For texts of conventions concluded at the Second International Peace Conference, held at The Hague, 1907, see Malloy, Treaties, 1776-1909, vol. II, pp. 2220–2389.
  3. Malloy, Treaties, 1910–1923, vol. iii, p. 3768.