500.A15A4 General Committee (Arms)/97: Telegram

The American Delegate (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

983. 1. During the discussion of chapter 2 of our draft in the Manufactures Committee this morning the French in discussing article 7 raised for the first time in public the question of advance publicity and explained in detail France’s conception of advance notices for the yearly estimates of manufacture both for expenditures and numbers (see my despatch 109, February 12).

2. Stanhope brought out the British proposal to limit publicity of global returns by categories (see my 97642).

3. The Italian delegate reiterated the position which Italy has consistently taken in all discussions of the control of arms manufacturers and traffic, namely, that in the event of war states should be free to buy war material from nonbelligerents which freedom might be menaced if states assumed too great a national responsibility for the manufacture of and trade in arms in their territories as provided under article 2 of our draft. He felt that this provision might either give rise to breaches of neutrality if the producing states were assumed to have governmental responsibility for shipments of arms to the belligerents or would lead to creation of arms industries in the present nonproducing states so that their security might not be diminished by restriction [Page 18] upon their freedom in time of war to import essential defense material. He added that Italy’s attitude toward the draft would depend upon the answer to this question.

4. Unless you desire otherwise I shall only report by telegraph such discussions in the daily debate as are of special interest.

  1. February 14, 9 p.m., p. 14.