500.A15A4 Steering Committee/48: Telegram

The American Delegate on the Bureau of the General Disarmament Conference (Wilson) 79 to the Secretary of State

379. Bureau held two sessions today; at morning session it was decided that sessions in general should be public. After usual preliminary remarks Chairman80 read his correspondence with German Minister for Foreign Affairs relating to Germany’s absence from Bureau. In doing so he suggested that discussion be deferred at least until opportunity for German reply.

Chairman also caused to be circulated program for the Bureau program groups questions in four categories in the general order set forth in articles 2, 3, and 4 of the resolution of July 23rd. It was decided that the Bureau should examine this program to decide whether the questions therein should be dealt with in the Bureau itself or referred to committee. Preceding this decision I suggested that the Bureau could work on a number of questions simultaneously through committees, for example effectives. I further suggested that there should be political representatives on the effectives committee and that this committee should be authorized to write its own mandate for the Bureau’s approval. The suggestion was favorably received by the Chairman, rapporteur and others and will be acted on tomorrow. [Page 333]The Bureau is now confining itself to procedure and is not attacking fundamentals.

The Bureau took up the question of chemical warfare and requested the Secretary General to furnish tomorrow technical information as to possibility of the prohibition of (a) means of chemical warfare (b) the manufacture of gas, and (c) peace-time training.

Am forwarding separate telegram on the subject of peace-time preparation for chemical warfare. Program forwarded by mail Bureau document number 18.

  1. As the American representative at the Bureau of the General Disarmament Conference, Mr. Wilson was assisted by two advisers: Ferdinand L. Mayer, Counselor of Embassy in Belgium; Lieutenant Colonel George V. Strong of the War Department; and by Samuel Reber, Jr., Third Secretary of Embassy in Belgium, as Secretary of the American delegation.
  2. Arthur Henderson, President of the General Disarmament Conference.