500.A15/196: Telegram

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

55. Department’s 54, April 7, 4 p.m. Department is concerned by apparent tendency to give increased importance to the role of League Committees. As originally presented the role of these committees was clearly limited to holding their advice at the disposal of the Preparatory Commission and no objection was therefore raised by this Government inasmuch as this did not put the League committees on different ground from any other authority from which the Commission might seek advice. There has, however, been an increasing tendency to inject [Page 72] these committees into the work of the Commission and Drummond’s letter to me speaks of the fact that they are to be “convened to assist the work of the Preparatory Commission.” Your despatch 780 March 25 indicates that it is proposed to adjourn the Preparatory Commission within a short time and leave the discussion of its agenda in the hands of these League bodies. It will be obvious to you that any such course would afford to those who are opposed to our cooperating with the League good ground for claiming that we have been maneuvered into turning over to League organizations responsible primarily to the League Council matters which should be discussed only by the authorized representatives of this and other Governments. As you know the Department has sought to cooperate as generously as possible with the League in its humanitarian activities but these efforts might be seriously compromised if any ground were given for the belief that the League Committees are given a more active and important role than was indicated to us at the time the invitation was accepted.

In view of the difficulty of securing technical experts abroad it has been necessary for this Government to send a large delegation and it will be unfortunate if through the long adjournments which are foreseen in your despatch 780, March 25 our representatives are kept in Europe longer than is necessary for continuous discussion. It is therefore hoped that no effort will be made to fix the duration of sessions until the Commission itself has acted upon the matter.