The Secretary of State to Mr. Elihu Root

My Dear Mr. Root: This is to confirm and clarify my talk with you over the telephone this morning. I have just had a long talk with the President, to whom I brought our proposed aide memoire in reference to the World Court.15 He feels very strongly that if we come out unequivocally and publicly for the amended protocol now, it would be at once made the subject of bitter attacks in the Senate at a time when we are not prepared to meet the attack and when we are in the midst [Page 13] of very serious attacks against the administration on farm relief and the tariff. He thinks this would greatly endanger the ultimate chance of successful adherence to the Court. He is particularly anxious that we shall not fail when we begin our fight for ratification because he feels that another rebuff would set back the adherence to the Court for half a generation.

Immediately after leaving the President, I saw Senator Swanson, who led the fight on behalf of the Democrats for the Court last time and is willing to lead it again this time. Swanson was very strongly of the same views as the President. He urged strongly that the Council should not take a question of the passage of protocol at the June Session, but to put it over until September. He believed it would be easier to get the matter through our Senate if most of the signatories had not acted rather than if they had acted. Swanson suggested that if you would yourself suggest to the Council such a postponement they would not attribute it to lack of enthusiasm on the part of this Government.

What I am trying to do is to think out some message that I can also send to Drummond16 which will express our friendliness to the amended Protocol and yet not provoke public debate; and thus far I have not thought of any satisfactory way to do so. If you can assist me in that respect it would be a great help. I have therefore asked Castle to go over and discuss this matter with you; and I am also telegraphing Jessup17 to meet Castle at your house tomorrow morning. Castle is not opposed to the Court; he has always been for it even without reservations but he doubts whether the present amended Protocol actually accepts the Senate reservations. At any rate, he is the Assistant Secretary who has had charge of this matter throughout and is the man most familiar with the political situation here whom I can send.

Faithfully yours,

Henry L. Stimson
  1. Presumably the draft of the aide-mémoire transmitted in the Department’s telegram No. 84, August 14, 11 a.m., to the Minister in Switzerland, p. 22.
  2. Sir Eric Drummond, Secretary-General of the League of Nations.
  3. Philip C. Jessup, lecturer and writer on international law, and member of the faculty of Columbia University, New York.