The Minister in the Netherlands ( Diekema ) to the Acting Secretary of State
[Received April 10—11 a.m.]
60. [From Miller.] Conference 28. The question as to our signature of the document called the Final Act of the Conference is now presented for decision.
The Final Act will be a formal and quite summary statement of the proceedings of the Conference reciting the invitation, the names of the delegates, the officers of the Conference and the three commissions; then will follow a list of the conventions drawn up mentioning them only by title and a reference to the reports on territorial waters and responsibility; then a statement that the Conference had adopted various resolutions which will be set forth in extenso; and finally a testimonium clause.
The Final Act has not yet been written but I think the foregoing is a correct statement of the substance of the document.
In any case there will be nothing in the Final Act which will be in any sense of a contractual nature. It is intended merely as a formal and official record of the proceedings.
Both Hackworth and I feel strongly that the United States should sign the Final Act and we recommend we should be authorized accordingly. The United States has taken a prominent part in the proceedings here and sometimes a decisive part and it seems, to us, particularly in view of the small result of the Conference as a whole, that it would be a great pity if we refused to sign a document that is merely a record and binds nobody to anything.
If you agree in principle with our recommendation I shall have to ask that will you not include also discretion to us regarding the form of the Final Act. The signature of that document is now set for Saturday afternoon April 12 and I doubt if it will be at all possible for me to telegraph you its text even in skeleton form in time for you to answer before the hour of signature.
Accordingly I hope you will find it possible to instruct us upon receipt of this telegram.
All our delegates concur. Miller.