560.M2/45: Telegram

The Chief of the American Delegation ( Wilson ) to the Secretary of State

11. Sixth session. British introduced fairly satisfactory article relating to prison-made goods. Also one embodying ideas similar to yours on standards. I introduced yours on standards and, knowing British were introducing one on other question, refrained for the moment from doing so. Also introduced in accordance with instructions amendments on article 4, paragraphs 6, 9, and 10 and on article 7. Since article 5 is the crucial one I withheld amendment for the moment to watch course of events.

Exception was taken by Italians, French, and Germans to a further paragraph under article 4 relative to standards. I therefore made a statement to dispel idea that our regulations constituted a barrier to trade and endeavored to demonstrate that they are great assistance to trade.

President then declared that unless Conference would refrain from details and attack essence of problem he would be compelled to call on us one by one for our declaration as to whether we desired in general to strengthen the convention or to weaken it. The British desired in general to eliminate from scope of convention everything which is not strictly of economic nature and preached the principle of making a document such as could be signed by the maximum number of states. The Germans insisted on revision of paragraph 1 of article 4 to cover only arms and munitions of war. The Italians are inclined to agree with the Germans while the French made no secret of their dissatisfaction with the present situation relative to British dye restrictions. This is behind a great portion of discussion going on between these four nations but it has not clearly come to surface yet. I learn that the British intend, if it comes to the surface, to defend the dye restrictions under article 4, paragraph 1 as necessary for national defense to build an industry capable of producing explosives.

I presented general survey without going into details, reserving that for the subcommittee, on our views respecting the articles under debate, namely, 4, 5 and 7. (See my 12, October 20, 10 p.m.)

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French made interesting suggestion that import restrictions should be considered separately from export restrictions. This might furnish a solution of many difficulties since it would give opportunity for separate consideration of raw material problems and for maintaining concise phraseology on import restrictions. Unless I am instructed to the contrary I propose to offer no objection to such procedure since it may offer possibility of agreement which looks doubtful at present.

Summarizing, today’s debate much more important than preceding and shows wide divergence of views as to what form convention should take. Can make no predictions at the present time.