500.A15A4/1168: Telegram

The Acting Chairman of the American Delegation (Gibson) to the Secretary of State

273. Paul-Boncour told Davis yesterday that since it would be difficult if not impossible for France to go so far as the President’s plan without further agreements for security in the form of mutual assistance pacts among European powers, and since it would also take some time to reorganize the French military service in order to make the reduction in effectives provided for therein, he would like to know if we would not be willing to reach an early agreement to sign a treaty with the limited program such as outlined in the delegation’s No. 27293 and then adjourn in order to have more time in which to consider the President’s plan. Davis told him that he did not see how we could agree to that now that the President’s plan is announced without having a discussion and an expression from the Conference on that plan; that this is something furthermore about which he would wish to confer with his colleagues. His personal opinion was that if a resolution could be adopted by the General Commission accepting in principle the President’s plan and appointing a committee which should be directed to work out details and draft a treaty in accordance with the plan for submission to the Conference to be reconvened in say 6 months it might be possible to consider an agreement of limited objectives for immediate adoption as outlined by Boncour in order to bring some immediate relief to the world.

Boncour felt this was an interesting suggestion which he would think over but felt that it would depend largely upon the wording of the resolution.

It is our opinion that no treaty of limited objectives should under any circumstances be urged on the Conference by the American delegation unless and until a resolution such as that suggested above has been passed by the Conference or the General Commission. It would [Page 228]be possible then that the immediate adoption of all agreed upon elements in the program of disarmament might encourage the world as a first step in the greater program.

The conclusion of a treaty of limited scope which might take months to devise, years for general ratification, might furnish an excuse for the long delay in considering the broader program suggested by the President. Possibly this difficulty could be avoided by having limited program set forth in declaration of present basis for agreement not requiring ratification.

As these are the critical days of the Conference we would appreciate your views as soon as possible.

  1. Supra.