500.A15/63: Telegram

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


8. Your No. 13, January 16, noon.

The President, having requested a congressional appropriation, does not wish to appoint delegation on Preparatory Commission and have his action regarded as indication that he is going to [Page 46] proceed without congressional action. The end sought is too important to risk any misunderstanding here over method of procedure; realization of any disarmament program can only be achieved through cooperation of Executive and Congress.
House resolution to authorize appropriation of $50,000 was passed January 18 with only one vote against it. I think the Senate will consider the resolution and pass it by February 1.48 I have heard of no serious opposition to it. At this time the Department is not disposed, therefore, to suggest that it desires a postponement. If certain powers were to make any attempt to place upon us responsibility for a postponement which they desire for reasons having nothing to do with our attitude, we should have an adequate answer. President’s attitude toward participation in Preparatory Commission’s work was clearly set forth in his message to Congress on January 4, so there can be no misapprehension regarding our position. The President does not wish to send formal acceptance until Congress has acted.
It does not seem at all necessary that there should be preliminary agreements between representatives of this Government and foreign delegations prior to the assembly of the Preparatory Commission. While purpose of this preliminary work is to facilitate informal exchange of views, that can just as well take place after February 15.
It is true that in the case of this Government the time was brief, as it has not participated in the meetings which preceded the invitation and as it received the documentation necessary for the preparation of instructions only a short time before the meeting was called. Work on preparation of instructions is now proceeding, however, in consultation with War and Navy Departments and will be completed in ample time to send the instructions to you before February 15. If other powers should now desire postponement, we do not object; but we do not propose a postponement and the onus for one should not be placed on us.
As you are aware, the Department does not intend to send large delegation to Geneva and probably only technical military and naval assistants will be sent from here, consisting probably of an admiral and a general with possibly technical aides.
At your discretion you may indicate orally to Drummond49 substance of paragraphs (2) and (3); you may add that it is probable that any personnel which may be sent from here will be of technical character.
  1. The resolution was passed by the Senate January 29 and was approved February 1; 44 Stat, (pt. 2) 3.
  2. Sir Eric Drummond, Secretary General of the League of Nations.