500.A16/18: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland ( Gibson ) to the Secretary of State

177. Commission on Private Manufacture met last evening. Bernstorff chairman.66 In the course of general discussion I made short statement of our views including necessity for publicity for both private and government manufacture. Italian delegate objected on the ground that his instructions did not permit him and the Commission was not competent to deal with government manufacture and was supported by legalistic arguments advanced by several other delegates. [Page 235] Belgian delegate, who warmly upheld my contention that both categories should be dealt with, suggested that inasmuch as certain phases of question would probably be considered by the Preparatory Commission and the final Disarmament Conference it might be well to make haste slowly with a view to seeing whether both categories could be dealt with either together or separately. I then stated that any agreement in order to be acceptable to us must provide publicity for both private and government manufacture and that if it was decided that the Commission could deal only with the one category I should be embarrassed in continuing. Japanese delegate said that his instructions definitely precluded him from discussing government manufacture but he expressed readiness to agree to delay in the hope of finding a solution. It was finally agreed that the chairman appoint subcommittee on which we are to be represented and that each delegation is to submit to this subcommittee its full views in order that they may be examined and an attempt made to reconcile them. It is not anticipated that there will be any future meetings the Private Manufacture Commission for the present.

  1. Count Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff, German delegate.