500.A15/194: Telegram

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

75. Department’s 48, March 30, 6 p.m. I saw Drummond yesterday and presented to him the considerations set forth in the Department’s telegram under reference. I also pointed out in detail that until his explanation made on March 27 (see my 73, March 29, 5 p.m.) the Legation had distinctly understood that American to be added to the Joint Commission for the purpose and duration of the Conference was to be an official member of the American delegation; that this understanding was due (1) to the absence of any statement to the contrary either in document C. P. D. 173 or in Beneš’s report adopted by the Council on March 18,74 and (2) to conversations with various competent members of the Secretariat previous and subsequent to the Council’s decision of March 18. I said that therefore his explanation on March 27th had come as a surprise.

Drummond stated that the Legation’s understanding was justified and expressed his regret that the Secretariat had failed to make the situation clear. While emphasizing again that the Joint Commission was purely an advisory body and that its opinions could in no wise bind the Preparatory Disarmament Commission, he expressed a desire to do everything possible to meet the Department’s wishes.

He said however that it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to revoke the Council’s decision to convene the Joint Commission, [Page 69] in order to allow the Preparatory Disarmament Commission to appoint its own technical subcommittee.

He also regretted that in view of technical difficulties it would scarcely be possible for him acting on behalf of the President of the Council to invite and subsequently designate a member of the American delegation to sit with the Joint Commission in his capacity as an official representative of the United States Government.

However, in consideration of the Department’s views in this matter he was confident that in spite of original plan he could arrange for the designation of any member of the American delegation whose preference should be indicated by the Department to sit with that Commission in the capacity of an expert; in order to avoid incongruity, since all other members of the Joint Commission were unofficial, and to circumvent technical difficulties, he pointed out that such a designation of a member of the American delegation would have to be as an “expert” but that from the American point of view he would still remain responsible to his Government and retain his official character not only while sitting with the Joint Commission but throughout his participation of the Conference. He pointed out that in spite of the stipulations in the Council’s decision of March 18th that American member to be added to the Joint Commission should be competent to deal with questions connected with “industry or transport” he could arrange for the addition of a member of the American delegation in any expert capacity which the Department might wish to attribute to him (in view of the character of the Joint Commission consistent choice would seem to be either Dulles as a legal expert or Richardson as a shipping expert).

In suggesting this arrangement Drummond was obviously actuated by a desire to find a solution acceptable to United States and to the other Governments concerned as well as to circumvent existing technical difficulties.

If this arrangement, which under the circumstances would seem the most satisfactory possible, is acceptable to the Department Drummond would be obliged to take up the matter with the President of the Council. He would then, on behalf of the President and in conformity with prescribed procedure, address an invitation to the member of the American delegation preferred by the Department to sit with the Joint Commission. As Drummond is leaving for Athens on April 8th it is important that the Department inform me as soon as possible: (1) whether the proposed arrangement is considered acceptable; (2), which member of the delegation it desires to have sit with the Joint Commission; and, (3), the expert capacity to be attributed to him.

  1. League of Nations, Documents of the Preparatory Commission, Series I.
  2. Ibid., Series II, p. 5.