500.C114/829: Telegram

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


65. Your telegram No. 86, August 15, 6 p.m., not received at Legation until today; delay unexplained.

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Inasmuch as your message to Sir Eric, cabled August 14 (Department’s telegram No. 84), was indicated to be confidential, it would be difficult for me to attend session of Committee as almost certainly I, despite my quality of observer, should be asked questions on our attitude which I should not be in position to answer and which consequently might introduce new misunderstanding or embarrassment.

At the same time I recognize fully danger that unauthorized Americans in Geneva may give false impression of their standing and in regard to our attitude. After having carefully thought over matter, I respectfully submit certain considerations.

On May 27 (your telegram No. 57, 6 p.m.), you stated that earliest moment draft could be submitted to Senate would be December session of Congress. With this fact in mind and having in view your desire to inaugurate public discussion at most favorable moment and in most advantageous way, I assume that you would prefer to delay affixing signature to draft until you are ready to submit to Senate and open discussion upon it. Fact that draft as it now stands is satisfactory to us has been generally assumed by public from newspaper statements; official confirmation of this assumption probably would not cause any great surprise. Indeed, I believe that it would avoid any misrepresentation and hypothetical discussion that would be provoked by silence on our part through this session.

I venture to suggest idea that results of decisions of the Council taken at Madrid have been transmitted to us officially, and fact that we have not replied, at least as far as the delegates and the public are aware, might be misinterpreted and result in considerable speculation. In my view it follows that under these circumstances the most direct method is the most advantageous; namely, that Drummond be authorized by us to read in the opening session the communication which I delivered to him. If this be done I believe draft would be accepted practically without discussion. Any misrepresentation of our attitude by unauthorized persons would be nullified by such procedure.

Should you feel that announcement of an American policy by Secretary-General of League of Nations would have effect in United States of giving appearance of undue connection with the League, I could doubtless arrange with Drummond to make this declaration myself at opening session, being presented as American Minister to Switzerland, not as an American representative or observer on Committee.

If you perceive no difficulty in affixing signature immediately following acceptance by other states, same considerations would apply.