793.94/4616: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva (Gilbert) to the Secretary of State

106. Wilson’s 51, March 4, 2 p.m. Sir John Simon spoke in the General Commission of the Assembly this afternoon.57 Before beginning his speech he made the following statement to Ambassador Gibson:

“I am going to put us squarely in line with America and I hope you will telegraph it.”

The pertinent portion of Simon’s speech follows:

“Should we not take this opportunity solemnly to reaffirm the fundamental principles on which the League is based and by which every signatory is bound? Should we not declare afresh that the Covenant of the League of Nations does not authorize a state, however well founded its grievances against another state, to seek redress by methods other than the pacific methods set forth in article 12 of the Covenant? The Pact of Paris which together with the Covenant is one of the pillars of the peace organization of the world, provides, as my distinguished friend Mr. Titulesco has pointed out, under article 2 that ‘the high contracting parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be which may arise amongst them should never be sought save by pacific means’; should we not make reference afresh to article 10 of the Covenant by which all members of the League have undertaken to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all members [Page 525] of the League? These propositions therefore are propositions which every member of the League is bound to accept without regard to the merits of the controversy and all these complicated matters. Changes brought about not as the result of conciliation and peaceful adjustment but by means contrary to the Covenant of the League or the Pact of Paris manifestly could not receive the approval of members of an assembly of nations which exists for the very purpose of observing these obligations and upholding these principles.

Such are the general lines of the declaration which I would invite my colleagues here to join in formulating. It would not be the complete discharge of our duty, not at all, but it would be a step we can take and ought to take at the end of our general discussion.”

  1. For minutes of meeting, see League of Nations, Official Journal, Special Supplement No. 101, vol. i, pp. 58–67.