500.A15A4/1229: Telegram

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

296. Following is the text of draft resolution referred to in my 295.

“The Conference for the Limitation and Reduction of Armaments:

Being profoundly convinced that substantial measures of disarmament on land, sea and in the air are necessary to promote the organization of peace, to remove the incentive as well as to reduce the power to wage aggressive war, and to hasten economic recovery.

Recognizing that such disarmament is a natural consequence of the obligations which the states of the world have assumed under the Briand-Kellogg Pact and the Covenant of the League of Nations.

Recognizing further that in view of the inter-relationship of land, air and naval forces, measures of disarmament should be applicable to all types of armaments and that the relative security of all nations of the world would be increased by proportional reductions by the nations of the world which now possess substantial armaments; and

Having taken cognizance of the proposals submitted by the President of the United States of America which are based upon the foregoing principles and having examined the reports and resolutions submitted by the various commissions of the Conference

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Has agreed upon the following declaration in order to affirm certain principles and methods of procedure which have been unanimously accepted:

The Conference considers that the first decisive step for the reduction of armaments to the lowest possible levels should be taken along the lines of the proposal of the President of the United States of America, which contemplates that all types of arms should be subject to strict limitation and to a reduction of approximately one third.
The Conference records that agreement has already been reached upon many important points which should be included in the disarmament treaty in accordance with the guiding principles approved by the Conference and set forth in the plan of the President of the United States of America. These points of agreement are as follows:
The prohibition of all bombardment from the air.
The abolition of all bombardment aviation and, to insure the carrying out of the prohibition against bombardment, the limitation, with such exceptions as may be agreed upon, of the size of airplanes to a maximum unladen weight of (blank), together with a limitation of numbers of airplanes as follows:
The abolition of all chemical, bacteriological and incendiary warfare.
The abolition of heavy mobile land artillery above (blank) millimeters.
The abolition of tanks.
The limitation of governmental expenditure to reflect direct measures of disarmament.
The constitution of a permanent disarmament commission as outlined in part 6 of the draft convention.
In order to permit the direct consultations between governments which are necessary for the concrete realization of the principles of disarmament set forth in the program of the President of the United States of America, the General Commission and its several commissions, with the exceptions hereafter noted, shall be adjourned to reconvene on November 15, 1932.
During the adjournment of the General Commission, in order to insure the continuity of the work at the Conference there is hereby constituted a coordinatng and a drafting committee whose task it shall be:
In the case of the drafting committee to prepare appropriate treaty texts to give effect to the points of agreement listed in paragraph 2 above; and
In the case of the coordinating committee to receive from time to time from the governments who may be consulting with respect to the plan presented by the President of the United States of America or with respect to other phases of the work of the Conference, any bases of agreement which may be reached and to coordinate and then to refer such bases to the drafting committee for the preparation of appropriate treaty texts for submission to the Conference.
In order to facilitate the work of the coordinating, the powers particularly concerned agree to take the following steps:
The powers parties to Naval Treaties of Washington and London will consider together the naval proposals of the President of the United States with a view to an early decision as to the nature and character of the naval reductions to be effected within the general scope of these proposals.
The naval powers other than the powers parties to the above treaties agree to consider the limitations and reductions which they may be able to accept assuming that the treaty naval powers accept limitations or reductions along the lines of the plan of the President of the United States of America.
Finally it is agreed that such other regional conversations shall be undertaken between the powers whose armaments bear particular relations to each other within particular geographical areas in order to facilitate thereby the conclusion of a general agreement.
The principle of a 33 1/3 percent reduction in the defense component of effectives of landing forces as proposed in the plan of the President of the United States of America should be worked out on the basis of comparable figures for effectives. Hence the coordinating committee shall consult with the necessary technical experts with a view to enabling the drafting committee to prepare the treaty clauses which will embody the figures necessary for carrying out this principle.
In order to insure that pending the reconvening of the Conference and during the time of its work no steps shall be taken by any power which might prejudice the broad and comprehensive program of disarmament hereby initiated, the Conference agrees that the truce provided for by the resolution of the Assembly of the League of Nations of September 29, 1931, shall be extended for (blank) months from its expiration November 1, 1932.22
To evidence their acceptance of the principles set forth in this declaration the duly accredited representatives of all the powers represented at the Conference have this (blank) day of (blank) initialed the foregoing declaration”.

Statement of points of agreement in paragraph 2 goes beyond what has yet been accepted but we felt our resolution should not suggest any recessions from President’s plan.

  1. For correspondence concerning the armaments truce, see Foreign Relations, 1931, vol. i, pp. 440 ff.; for text of the resolution of September 29, 1931, see telegram No. 171, September 29, 1931, from the Minister in Switzerland, ibid., pp. 464, 467.