500.C 1196/11: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Switzerland ( Atcherson )

64. Your despatch No. 798, April 7.92 Please transmit to the Secretary General of the League of Nations in the usual manner the following communication:

The Secretary General of the League of Nations with a communication dated March 22, 1926,93 was good enough to transmit to the Secretary of State of the United States certain questionnaires and reports prepared by the Committee of Experts for the Progressive Codification of International Law, and to request the opinion of the Government of the United States as to whether the regulation by international agreement of the subjects treated in the questionnaires having regard both to their general aspects and the specific points mentioned in the questionnaires is desirable and realizable in the near future.

It is the view of the Government of the United States that international arrangements on the general subjects of (1) nationality, (2) territorial waters, (3) diplomatic privileges and immunities, and (4) responsibility of states in respect of injury caused in their territory to the person or property of foreigners, which are the first four subjects mentioned in the communication of the Secretary General, would serve a useful purpose and would, therefore, be desirable and that there should be no insuperable obstacles to the concluding of agreements on these general subjects. The Government of the United States is not prepared at this time to state whether all the points mentioned in the questionnaires on the subjects referred to would yield to regulation by international agreement, nor does it desire to express an [Page 556] opinion regarding the desirability or possibility of regulating all the points by international agreement until it has had opportunity to make a more intensive study of them than it has as yet made. The details would seem to be proper matters for discussion in any negotiations which may ensue.

With respect to the fifth, subject, namely, procedure of international conferences and procedure for the concluding and drafting of treaties, the Government of the United States perceives no real necessity for the regulation of these subjects by international agreement. It would seem that the determination of the procedure of international conferences might well be left to the discretion of the delegates representing the Governments participating in such conferences, and that the procedure for the drafting and concluding of treaties might be left for determination by the parties negotiating them.

In regard to the sixth subject enumerated in the communication of the Secretary General, namely, piracy, it is the view of the Government of the United States that piracy as that term is known in international law is so nearly extinct as to render of little importance consideration of that subject as one to be regulated by international agreement.

With respect to the seventh subject, namely, exploitation of the products of the sea, the Government of the United States is of the opinion:

1.
That international regulation of certain fisheries, such as those for whales, is desirable and should be realizable.
2.
That information as to the status of fisheries for most of the true fishes is not sufficiently complete to admit of the formulation of proper regulations at the present time.
3.
That in most cases particular fisheries may best be regulated by treaties between the nations most directly concerned.
4.
That investigations to determine the need for and character of regulations to sustain the various fisheries should be encouraged; and
5.
That an international conference is desirable to consider the problem of conserving the whale.

Kellogg
  1. Not printed. For texts of the seven questionnaires which were transmitted with despatch No. 798, see League of Nations, Committee of Experts for the Progressive Codification of International Law: Questionnaires adopted by the Committee at its Second Session, held in January 1926: (1) Nationality (C.43.M.18.1926.V [C.P.D.1.53]); (2) Territorial Waters (C.44.M.21.1926.V [C.P.D.I.54]); (3) Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities (C.45.M.22.1926.V [C.P.D.I.55]); (4) Responsibility of States for Damage Done in Their Territories to the Person or Property of Foreigners (C.46.M.23.1926.V [C.P.D.I.56]); (5) Procedure of International Conferences and Procedure for the Conclusion and Drafting of Treaties (C.47.M.24.1926.V [C.P.D.I.57]); (6) Piracy (C.48.M.25.1926.V [C.P.D.I.58]); (7) Exploitation of the Products of the Sea (C.49.M.26.1926.V [C.P.D.I.59]).
  2. Not printed.