710.F/122a: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Cuba (Curtis)


85. The New York Times this morning publishes a despatch with Geneva date line as follows:3

“At the request of the Cuban Government, the League of Nations has decided to send a member of the League Secretariat to Habana to follow the proceedings of the Pan American Union Conference in January.”

Please bring this press statement immediately to the attention of the Foreign Minister and ask him if it is correct. If the answer is in the affirmative, you will please state the views of the Government of the United States as set forth in the enclosure to instruction No. 1086, October 26, 1927.4 You may add that the Government of the United States feels that no non-American nation or entity should participate or be present at the Pan American Conferences, and it hopes that the Government of Cuba will concur in this view and will not have any such representatives present.

You should make it clearly understood that no criticism or disparagement of the League of Nations is intended, when it is observed that the Pan American Conference is organized upon a separate and distinct basis. The League of Nations is intended to be world-wide in its scope and a number of American States are members of the League of Nations and are thus able to express their viewpoints on matters of world-wide import which come before the attention of the Council and the Assembly of the League of Nations, respectively. The Pan American Conferences have their existence because of the distinct interests of the American States which, without any antagonism to any world relationship, make it desirable for these States to confer with respect to the problems which relate expressly to the States of the Western Hemisphere. Participation in the Pan American Conference of representatives of the League of Nations would bring to the Conference the policies and viewpoints of States which are members of the League of Nations and are not American States and thus the nature of the Conference itself would be fundamentally altered. The scope of the Pan American Conference is confined to aims and interests of this hemisphere, and the integrity of the Conference as an exclusively American conference should be maintained if its usefulness is to be preserved.

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Should the Government of Cuba have issued such an invitation, you will call attention to article 22 of the regulations of the Sixth International Conference of American States which provides:5

“Attendance at the deliberations of the Conference shall be confined to the following: The delegates with their respective secretaries and attaches; the Director or other accredited representative of the Pan American Union and his secretary; the secretaries of the sessions; the interpreters and stenographers of the Conference; such representatives of the press as are properly accredited and as are approved by the Committee on Organization; and the authorized attendants: Provided, however, That the Conference may by a majority vote extend the courtesies of the Conference to such persons as it may at any time designate.”

You may state in this connection that perhaps the Government of Cuba had not yet received copies of these regulations when it issued the invitation, and that the provision of this article might conveniently afford a way out, permitting the Government of Cuba to inform the League of Nations that, on account of this, it would not be possible for a representative of the League of Nations to attend the Conference unless and until the Conference, by a majority vote, should extend to him the courtesy of the Conference.

You may also request an audience of the President and express the same views to him if you deem it to be necessary.

  1. Quotation not paraphrased.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Quotation not paraphrased.