500.A15/196: Telegram

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

54. Please address following communication to Drummond:

“My dear Sir Eric: Under instructions from my Government I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of March 19th75 to the Secretary of State. In this note you communicate the resolution adopted by the Council of the League of Nations in accordance with which the States represented on the Preparatory Commission are asked to appoint military, naval and air experts to sit on the Permanent Advisory Committee on a footing of equality with members of that Committee whenever it is convened to assist the work of the Preparatory Commission. You request communication of the names of the experts to be appointed on behalf of the American Government in compliance with this resolution. You further make known the decision of the Council to increase the number of members of the Joint Commission by the addition of four members competent to deal with questions connected with industry and transport, to include an American citizen.

In the invitation transmitted to this Government under date of December 12, 1925 by the Acting President of the Council, the Government of the United States was invited to send representatives to sit on the Preparatory Commission which was to have ‘at its disposal the advice of the Technical (military and civilian) organizations of the League of Nations, as well as that of any other qualified authorities which in the opinion of the Commission it may be advisable to consult on any of the subjects which may come under its consideration.’ It was this invitation to be represented on the Preparatory Commission which my Government accepted under date of January 30th.

My Government does not desire to hinder the Preparatory Commission in seeking the benefits of assistance which it might derive from any source but it has not consented to be represented on any other organization than the Preparatory Commission. While it is not disposed to raise technical objection on questions of procedure at this time, it is felt that it would be unfortunate to have the procedure of the Preparatory Commission determined in any respect prior to the meeting of this Commission and the question as to the organizations, if any, which the Preparatory Commission may desire to consult appears to my Government to be one which should be left to the decision of that Commission.

It was on the assumption that the Preparatory Commission was entirely competent to determine its own procedure and to decide as to the reference to other bodies of questions which might arise that my Government felt justified in accepting the invitation to attend the meeting of the Preparatory Commission without any reservations on this point.

It is inferred from the last paragraph of your note that the Council of the League of Nations is considering the appointment of an unofficial American citizen to sit with the Joint Commission. While [Page 71] my Government would not of course presume to raise any question as to any appointment which the Council might see fit to make to a League Committee you will, of course, realize that the appointment of an unofficial American citizen could not be regarded by my Government as constituting American representation on that body. Neither could it be construed as imposing upon my Government any obligation to consent to the reference to the Joint Commission of questions in which my Government is interested. In this connection also it would seem that in view of the competence of the Preparatory Commission to determine its own procedure it would be preferable to await the actual meeting of that Commission before determining the functions of other bodies to which it might eventually decide to turn for expert advice. In the interest of the success of the Preparatory Commission’s work I am desired to state frankly my Government’s view that attempts at this time to anticipate decisions of the Preparatory Commission and to prejudice its free decisions are calculated to impede rather than facilitate its work.

Further, in connection with my recent conversations with you, and to supplement the representations which I had the honor to make,75a I have been further instructed to state that it has been the understanding of my Government that the Preparatory Commission was constituted for the purpose of doing itself the preparatory work on the limitation of armaments and not merely to delegate this function to other bodies. It was on this understanding that the American representatives were chosen. Thus my Government assumed that the Preparatory Commission was to continue in session until its report was submitted and that the task of preparing a report was to rest with the Preparatory Commission itself or subcommittees to be formed therefrom and not with other organizations. The American representation on the Preparatory Commission will be prepared to participate in the work of this Commission in a spirit of cooperation and helpfulness in the hope that its deliberations may result in constructive achievement.”

  1. Ante, p. 66.
  2. This much of the paragraph was deleted from the letter which the Chargé sent to the Secretary General (file No. 500.A15/212).