500.A16/15b: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Switzerland ( Marriner )

21. Please transmit the following to the Secretary General of the League of Nations in the usual informal manner.59

“The Secretary of State of the United States of America refers to the note of the Secretary General of the League of Nations, dated December 17, 1926, in which he was good enough to invite the American Government to appoint a representative to sit as a member of a Special Commission created by the Council of the League of Nations, to meet at Geneva, March 14, 1927, to consider a draft convention with regard to the private manufacture of arms and ammunition and of implements of war, and to prepare a final draft which might serve as a basis for an international conference. It has been noted that the preparation of such a draft convention is stated by Sir Eric Drummond to have been decided upon by the Council of the League on December 12, 1925, as the outcome of a resolution of the Assembly of the League endorsing 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, the purport of which was that the international aspect of ‘the manufacture of such Arms and Ammunition and Implements of War’ should be given consideration by the different Governments.

It is further noted that Sir Eric Drummond draws attention to a passage in the Report adopted by the Council on December 9, 1926, [Page 216] which based the hope of American participation in the forthcoming meeting of the Special Commission upon certain statements made by the Honorable Theodore E. Burton, Chairman of the American delegation at the Conference for the Supervision of the International Trade in Arms and Ammunition and in Implements of War.

The statements of Mr. Burton to which reference is made were substantially to the following effect, viz: 1) that the United States Government has for many years collected and published statistics covering the production in this country of arms and ammunition, 2) that the United States would be willing to enter a suitable international agreement providing for the publication of such statistics by the governments parties thereto, 3) that such an agreement, to be effective, should cover the manufacture of arms and ammunition in both private and government factories.

The American Government believes that the principles enunciated by Mr. Burton would provide a sound basis for an international convention, and therefore has been pleased to designate the Honorable Hugh S. Gibson, American Minister to Switzerland, to attend the meeting of the Special Commission.”

Grew
  1. Transmitted to the Secretary General on February 25.