500.A15/672: Telegram

The Chief of the American Representation on the Preparatory Commission (Gibson) to the Secretary of State

10. At this afternoon’s session Commission reached discussion of Russian proposals. An able presentation by Litvinoff concluded with the assumption that the country which had presented to the world the idea of the multilateral pact outlawing war would from the logic of events feel obliged to support Russian proposals.

Bernstorff17 spoke at some length supporting to a rather surprising extent the fundamental ideas of the Russian proposals and said he felt they should be discussed in detail in connection with second reading of the draft protocol which must take place at this session.

Turkish delegate completing group which is evidently agreed to work together also called for careful consideration in plenary meeting.

After this there was a long and embarrassing silence, following which the chairman said as no one appeared anxious to speak he would adjourn the meeting until four o’clock tomorrow afternoon when certain delegates had expressed a desire to speak.

[Paraphrase.] All of the delegations, as far as I know, are anxious that there should be a prompt disposal of the Russian proposals and an early adjournment of the second reading, but it appears that no one has the courage to stand up against the attacks of the Russians. It is my belief that if we assumed a leadership in this matter, enough courage would be summoned up by other delegations to deal with the situation, but I cannot perceive why this task should be undertaken by us for the benefit of other more immediately concerned countries. It is my intention, therefore, as far as possible, to keep free of the debates, and this course will be followed unless the circumstances are so altered that intervention in harmony with the Department’s previous instructions becomes essential. [End paraphrase.]

  1. Head of the German delegation.