500.A15A4/1462: Telegram

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

205. You are not to take any initiative in this matter and under no circumstances are you to make any written communication or show this cable. If however the subject of my position in regard to the German démarche should come up in general conversation between you and Simon and he should express anxiety to know what my attitude is in regard to his recent note on the subject of the German démarche, you may say that you understand it to be substantially this:—Simon’s analysis of the legal obligations of the various treaties in respect to the work of Disarmament Conference is considered by me as a very able paper. We have not taken any position in regard to the validity of the German’s contention as to equality of rights. This is because we consider all questions arising out of the Versailles Treaty to be primarily matters for the decision of the European nations in spite of the fact that Part V of that Treaty is by reference incorporated in our own Treaty with Germany. The American people are however deeply interested in accomplishing a general disarmament, and thus in the success of the Disarmament Conference. They are unwilling to take sides, in any of the legal European questions which may precede or become involved in it. I have therefore made no public statement on the German démarche. Through the diplomatic channels I have stated our interest in general disarmament; that we regard this step as necessarily a gradual one, and that the revision of armaments must proceed downward and not upward. I have in the same manner expressed my apprehension lest Germany’s raising of legal questions and her withdrawal from the Disarmament Conference may retard the general objective in which we are so deeply interested.