The British Ambassador (Lindsay) to the Acting Secretary of State

No. 138

Sir: In my note No. 113 of March 30th last3 I enquired whether the United States Government would agree to the proposal that outstanding ratifications of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea signed at London in 1929 should be deposited simultaneously on October 1st, 1932. Under instructions from His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs I now have the honour to transmit to you the further observations of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom on this proposal.

The date for the simultaneous deposit of ratifications has been proposed so that the Convention may be brought into operation simultaneously over as wide an area as possible on the 1st January, 1933. As stated in my note under reference the dates suggested are two months later than those proposed for the bringing into operation of the International Load Line Convention4 since the Safety of Life at Sea Convention covers a much more diverse field and it may therefore be more convenient to many of the Governments concerned to have a longer period available for the preparatory work required. It is also hoped that the postponement of the date of operation until the 1st January, 1933 will enable a large number of Governments to come into the present scheme for the simultaneous deposit of ratifications.
In this connection I am to refer to the various dates which are specified in the Convention for the coming into force of particular provisions. Thus, in Articles 4 and 11, definitions are given of “new” ships, to which the provisions of Chapters 2 and 3 of the Convention apply in full, such new ships being defined as those the keels of which are laid on or after the 1st July, 1931. This definition was inserted in the Convention in the expectation that it would come into operation on the 1st July, 1931, but it is clearly not affected by the postponement of the date of operation, and His Majesty’s Government take the view that as the provisions of the Convention have been published for some time, and are well-known in all the maritime countries, no serious difficulty or inconvenience is likely to be caused by adhering to the 1st July, 1931, for the purpose of the definition of “new” ships.
Article 37 specifies various dates in relation to the North Atlantic Ice Patrol, but these only concern the particular Governments [Page 908] mentioned in the Article with whom separate negotiations are already in progress.
It has not been possible to adhere to the date laid down in Article 40 for the entry into force of the Revised International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, namely the 1st July, 1931, but separate negotiations are at present proceeding not only with the Governments which are parties to the Convention but also with the numerous other Governments which have adopted the International Regulations now in force; as you are aware from my note No. 455 of December 31st last, it has been proposed that the amended Regulations should come into force on the 1st January, 1933.
Further, it has not been possible to adhere to the date fixed for the taking effect of Article 41, and this will now be governed by the date on which the Convention as a whole comes into operation.
Under Article 51, the contracting Governments undertake to communicate one to another a sufficient number of specimens of the certificates which they propose to issue under the Convention, and this exchange was to have been made, if possible, before the 1st January, 1932. As matters now stand, the contracting Governments will no doubt complete the circulation of their specimen certificates as early as possible after the date on which the Convention comes into operation. The matter is, however, only one of administrative convenience, and there appears to be no necessity to fix definitely a new date in place of that laid down in Article 51.

I have [etc.]

R. C. Lindsay