500.A15A4 Steering Committee/119: Telegram

The American Delegate (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

429. Reference our 424, October 28, 7 p.m.3 The report on the subject of chemical warfare will come up for consideration in the Bureau in the next few days. It would be very helpful if we could have some guidance of the Department upon the following points:

Is a general renunciation or prohibition of the use of chemical warfare preferable to a reciprocal agreement? In this connection you will note that the rapporteur suggests the first alternative still representing the consensus of opinion of the various delegations with which he has consulted (I was not consulted by the rapporteur).
In the event that you find acceptable a general renunciation or prohibition of the use of gas, how far could you go with respect to the prohibition of preparation on training in time of peace, in general as foreseen under third paragraph of my 424?
We will insist upon the extension of the right of preparation and training for protection to apply to groups as well as to individuals.
Would it not be better to delete all reference to lacrymatory gas in those sections of the conclusions dealing with prohibition of use and preparations and to insert subsequently a new section covering the renunciation of its use against any state in warfare.
In the event you approve of a general renunciation we feel that penalties in kind are incongruous with the conception of renunciation. What might be envisaged is the establishment of the fact of violation by the Permanent Disarmament Commission followed by advice between the other states as to what should be done without any specific authorization for penalties.

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Bearing in mind your 207, September 22, 5 p.m., I shall in any case refrain from entering this debate as long as possible and shall give you as soon as possible the trend of the discussion. Nevertheless it may be essential to make some pronouncement either at the request of the chair or in conversation with my colleagues and I should therefore appreciate your guidance on the points above.

  1. Not printed.