The Secretary General of the League of Nations ( Drummond ) to the Secretary of State
[Received December 31.]
Sir: I have the honour to inform you that at its sitting of December 9th, 1926, the Council of the League of Nations adopted the following Resolution:
“In view of the Resolution adopted by the Assembly on September 21st, 1926, with regard to the private manufacture of arms and ammunition and of implements of war,
“To refer the draft Convention prepared by the Committee to a special Commission composed of representatives of the present Members of the Council, on which representatives of the United States of America and of the Union of Sovietist Socialist Republics would be invited to sit, in order that this Commission may prepare a final draft which might serve as a basis for an international conference.
“This Commission is authorized to forward its final draft, through the Secretary General of the League of Nations, to all those States [Page 214] which were invited to attend the 1925 conference on the supervision of the international trade in arms and ammunition and in implements of war,57 with a view to holding an international conference which might meet in Geneva in the autumn of 1927 if the general Disarmament Conference cannot take place before the eighth ordinary session of the Assembly”.
I enclose the Report of M. Benes, which was approved by the Council simultaneously with the above Resolution (Document C.701.1926. IX), as well as Document A.47.1926.IX, which contains the draft Convention mentioned in the Resolution and other documents referring to this question.58
The preparation of a draft Convention for the supervision of the private manufacture of arms and ammunition and of implements of war was decided by the Council on December 12th, 1925, as the outcome of a Resolution of the Assembly of the League of Nations, in which the Assembly endorsed the declaration inserted in the Final Act of the International Conference for the Supervision of the International Trade in Arms and Ammunition and in Implements of War, to the effect:
“that the Convention of to-day’s date must be considered as an important step towards a general system of international agreements regarding Arms and Ammunition and Implements of War, and that it is desirable that the international aspect of the manufacture of such Arms and Ammunition and Implements of War should receive early consideration by the different Governments”.
The Assembly and the Council of the League of Nations have several times put on record the importance which they attach to the question of the supervision of the private manufacture of arms and ammunition and of implements of war in connection with that of the supervision of the international trade, and notably in the following passage of a report adopted by the Council on September 26th, 1925:—
“The Council has taken note of the Resolution adopted by the Sixth Assembly on the supervision of the manufacture of arms and ammunition and of implements of war. The Council is aware, as pointed out in M. Guerrero’s Report, which was adopted by the Assembly, that this Resolution was prompted by two currents of opinion. On the one hand, all the Assemblies have shown a desire to put into operation the provisions of Article 8 of the Covenant with regard to the supervision of the private manufacture of arms and ammunition and of implements of war. On the other hand, at the Conference of May-June, 1925, on the Supervision of the International Trade in Arms and Ammunition and in Implements of War, there was a strong tendency to assert the equality of non-producing and producing States. The non-producing States pointed out that, as the Convention for the Supervision of International Trade subjected the purchase of arms to [Page 215] the regime of publicity, the producing States must, in order to re-establish equality, accept the same principle of publicity by concluding a Convention on the supervision of manufacture”.
I beg to draw your attention to the passage in the enclosed Report in which the Council refers to the collaboration of your Government in the work to be undertaken:—
“Further, the Assembly has more than once recommended that the Government of the United States should be invited to assist in the preparation of the proposed draft convention; this assistance, we are happily entitled to hope will be forthcoming in view of the formal statements made by the representative of the United States of America at the Conference for the Supervision of the International Trade in Arms and Ammunition and in Implements of War”.
I therefore have the honour to invite you to appoint a Representative to sit as a member of the Special Commission created by the Council, as specified in the enclosed Report, to meet in Geneva on March 14th at 4 p.m.
I have [etc.]