The Acting Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Officers 2

Sirs: In 1931, the United States participated with other nations in a conference held at Geneva for the purpose of considering limitation of the manufacture of narcotic drugs. As a result of the deliberations of that conference, a Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs was drawn up and signed by the plenipotentiaries of forty-four nations. This Convention was ratified by the United States on April 28, 1932.

It is desired that you bring formally and officially to the attention of the Government to which you are accredited the following observations in regard to this Convention.

Under the terms of its Article 30, the Convention is to come into force ninety days after the Secretary-General of the League of Nations has received the ratifications or accessions of twenty-five nations, including any four of the following: France, Germany, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States of America.

The protocol of signature provides that “if, on July 13, 1933, the said Convention is not in force in accordance with the provisions of Article 30, the Secretary-General of the League of Nations shall bring the situation to the attention of the Council of the League of Nations, which may either convene a new conference of all the Members of the League and non-Member States on whose behalf the Convention has been signed or ratifications or accessions deposited, to consider the situation, or take such measures as it considers necessary.”

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The necessary ratifications and accessions to bring the Convention into force by July 13, 1933, must, under the terms of Article 30, be received by the Secretary-General of the League of Nations by April 13, 1933.

The Government of the United States regards this Convention as an important forward step in the cooperation between nations to combat the abuse of narcotic drugs and hopes to see it come into force by July, 1933.

This Government is constantly made aware of the fact that its efforts to prevent the abuse of narcotic drugs within territories subject to its jurisdiction are continually being hampered by the activities of smugglers who still appear to find little difficulty in acquiring abroad large quantities of these drugs for the purpose of introducing them into the illicit traffic.

Having no doubt but that other Governments have similar experience, this Government, in the belief that the measures contemplated by the Convention are calculated to strengthen the hands of all nations in dealing with that traffic, desires to urge upon the Governments signatory to the Convention and upon all others the importance of proceeding to ratify the Convention as soon as possible, at any rate by a date which will admit of the deposit of ratification before April 13, 1933.

There are enclosed herewith two copies of the Message of the President transmitting the Convention to the Senate,3 in which will be found the complete texts of the Convention, of the Protocol of Signature and of the Report of the American Delegation to the Conference. This document is now public and you may, in your discretion, use it in explaining to the Government to which you are accredited the importance which the United States attaches to this Convention and the advantages expected to accrue to all nations party to the Convention as a result of its coming into force.

You are requested to report, in due course, the attitude of the Government to which you are accredited in regard (a) to ratification of the Convention or accession thereto by it and (b) to the possibility of its urging upon other Governments the desirability of ratification or accession by them. Replies to this instruction should be transmitted in triplicate.

Very truly yours,

W. R. Castle, Jr.
  1. This circular instruction was sent to all American missions except those in Chile, El Salvador, Morocco, Nicaragua, and Peru, the latter two countries having already acceded to the convention. A special instruction was sent to the mission in Chile.
  2. For text of the message, dated March 4, 1932, see S. Doc. Exec. G, 72d Cong., 1st sess.