793.94/2015: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva (Gilbert) to the Secretary of State


161. (Section 4.) Department’s 64, October 5, 2 p.m.

In talking with Drummond I could see he was cheered greatly by the evidence of understanding and cooperation on your part in the difficult Manchurian problem. He clearly perceives the important relationship in the political and economic spheres of the Manchurian question to the whole world situation and particularly to the disarmament problem. He strongly feels that at this juncture no steps should be omitted and no word left unsaid which would aid in the achievement of a speedy adjustment.
Drummond is very happy that you concur in general with the policy followed in this matter by the League Council, and he is especially grateful for your message which shows such complete understanding of the League’s past, present, and future attitude in this dispute. The cooperation shown in this case, he feels convinced, may be of the utmost value in assuring world peace hereafter.
In regard to the matter of exchanging information, Drummond notes that such information as you may be able to make available will be transmitted to him. He desires me to state that he will gladly reciprocate.
However, in this connection there arise in his mind certain questions regarding which he would like to come to an understanding with you. It is incumbent upon him, from the nature of his position, to [Page 131] act in the interest of all states in the League. Since at present this question has come before the League Council, it has been his task to make known to all League Council members such information as he may obtain from the Japanese or the Chinese or from any Council member (see my 150, October 1, 9 a.m., the Council’s resolution, paragraphs 7 and 9). He has circulated such information as a rule to all Council members. Hitherto all messages received from Washington which embodied information or expressions of opinion, with the exception of your formal messages to the Council President (see my [your] 123, September 23, 4 p.m. and 126, September 24, 4 p.m.),4 came with the understanding that they were solely for his information. Since his receipt of communications from Washington is generally known, Drummond has often been asked at private Council meetings which have taken place and at meetings of the so-called Committee of Five as to what the policy or views of the United States might be. In response to these requests Drummond has thus far given orally a summary of the information received from you. However, he feels that there are many unsatisfactory elements in such a procedure. First, a résumé of this sort may carry implications of his personal interpretation, and this he naturally is anxious to avoid. Moreover, as keeping anything of the sort strictly confidential is relatively impossible, there is the danger always that it may reach the press and that you may perhaps feel your confidence has not been respected entirely by him. Therefore, though he is quite ready to go on with this system, he would welcome any suggestions from you which would permit him to communicate in writing to the Council members and which perhaps would help promote the common action being frankly sought.
In view of the above, Drummond suggests that if it is convenient, you indicate in any communications you make to him, which portion you are sending for his personal information, and which portion he may make known textually to the Council or to the Council members.
The above chiefly refers to information in regard to the Manchurian situation as envisaged in the latter portion of your 64, as cited. Also there is the question of policy expressions concerning the United States attitude toward the League in this matter, especially as regards the course pursued by the Council; for example, as made known in your 64. Drummond regards such expressions by you at the present time as solely for him. However, he would appreciate having your opinion regarding what use might properly be made of such expressions, and in this connection he asks you to take into consideration the restraining effect upon the Japanese and the good effect in quieting world anxiety if you or he were able to make known the fact that the [Page 132] United States and the League entertain similar views on certain of the more vital aspects involved.
  1. For these telegrams, which were sent to the Minister in Switzerland at Geneva, see pp. 48 and 59.