The Secretary of State to the Acting Chairman of the American Delegation (Gibson)
151. Tour 272, June 24, 4 p.m. and 273, June 24, 5 p.m. The primary purpose of the delegation during the present phase of the Conference should be to prevent any steps being taken which would sidetrack the President’s program. We regard it as important that the Conference should in some form or other commit itself on the plan as a whole and we hope that it will be possible to obtain an approval in principle. If this is done and a small standing committee is created to prepare a draft for subsequent consideration by the Conference, we would see no objection and considerable advantage to an adjournment of say 6 months for further study of the plan by the governments concerned. The appointment of a small committee to sit during the recess seems to us of importance in that (a) it will keep the proposals constantly before the attention of the various governments; (b) it will preserve the continuity of the Conference and (c) it will lessen the risk of any power blocking its reassembling.
As to the conclusion in the near future of a treaty of limited scope, we do not wish to throw cold water on any scheme that might mark a real advance, but the more we examine it the greater appear to be its disadvantages. Many of these you have pointed out: it would take much time for negotiation and drafting, not to mention ratification; it would require affirmative action; in which it would be difficult for us to join, to induce Germany to accept it; it might put us in a position of seeming to desert powers who have been supporting us in our position of leadership. But above all the conclusion of such a treaty would detract emphasis from the President’s plan and might impair or even destroy the chances of its eventual realization. These considerations would still hold true, though to a lesser degree in the case you suggested of a declaration so drawn up as not to require ratification.
In the circumstances, we feel it only fair that you should quite frankly inform the French and British of our views, and offer them no encouragement along the line of a limited treaty unless and until these objections have been removed. I see no disadvantages to your joining with them in informing the Conference of the results of your informal explorations with them during the past week or so, but you should clearly indicate that you are not urging a settlement along these lines and that you will continue to press for broader solutions.[Page 234]
The technical questions you submitted in your 274 June 24, 6 p.m. are being studied and I hope to be able to send you an answer early next week.
Thank you for the message contained in your 271 June 23, 3 p.m.5 I fully realize the strain you all underwent during the few days prior to the publication of the President’s plan, and want to express my deep personal gratification and admiration for your work. Will you share this message with all the members of the delegation?
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