The Minister in Switzerland ( Wilson ) to the Secretary of State
[Received July 17.]
L. N. No. 2054
Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a letter dated June 29, 1931, together with its enclosures, from Sir Eric Drummond, Secretary General of the League of Nations, with reference to a resolution made by the League Council by which the Secretary General was instructed to inquire of all States not members of the League which have not acceded to the 1921 Convention on Traffic in Women and Children,39 whether they will be prepared now to accede.
Sir Eric pointed out to me informally that in the reply of the State Department in 1922 to an invitation to adhere, the great interest of our Government in this work had been emphasized, but at the same time [Page 707] constitutional difficulties had prevented our undertaking the obligations of the treaty.40 He wanted me to be aware of his appreciation of the attitude of the American Government; that he was in no way endeavoring to agitate a matter to which we might have constitutional objections, but that, under the Council’s resolution, it was his duty again to bring the matter to our attention. I replied that in transmitting a copy of his note to the Secretary of State, I would at the same time mention the informal conversation between us.
- League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. ix, p. 415.↩
The substance of the note of March 8, 1922, to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations is as follows:
“Article I of the Convention provides as follows:
‘The High Contracting Parties agree that, in the event of their not being already Parties to the Agreement of May 18th, 1904, and the Convention of May 4th, 1910, mentioned above, they will transmit, with the least possible delay, their ratifications of, or adhesions to, those instruments in the manner laid down therein.’
As the Secretary General is doubtless aware, the Government of the United States is already a party to the Agreement of May 18, 1904. With respect, however, to the Convention of May 4, 1910, that Convention contains, as the Secretary General was informed through the American Consul at Geneva last June, projects which, it is thought, pertain under the Constitution of the United States to the police functions of the several States of the Union and which the Federal Government would not in consequence be capable of fulfilling.
For this reason, the Government of the United States feels compelled to withhold its adherence to the Convention of 1910, and its signature to the confirmatory Convention now open at Geneva.
The Secretary of State would not wish it to be understood, however, that the Government of the United States is not in full sympathy with the laudable purposes of the Convention. On the contrary, the suppression of the nefarious traffic in women and children is a matter in which that Government is greatly interested, and to which end Federal Statutes have been enacted which are within the purview of Congressional action.”
The convention of May 18, 1904, is printed in Foreign Relations, 1905, p. 462, and in Malloy, Treaties, 1776–1909, vol. ii, p. 2131. The convention of May 4, 1910, is printed in British and Foreign State Papers, vol. ciii, p. 244.↩
- Not printed.↩
- Not reprinted.↩