711.00111 Armament Control/441a
The Secretary of State to Diplomatic and Consular Officers
Sirs: It is deemed advisable to set forth at this time, for information and future guidance and as a supplement to previous instructions, a statement of the policy of this Government in respect to the export of arms, ammunition, and implements of war from the United States, and in respect to the duties of representatives of the Government in foreign countries in relation thereto.
It is not the policy of this Government to encourage the export trade in arms, ammunition, and implements of war. American diplomatic and consular officers should not, therefore, proceed on their own initiative to promote American trade in arms, ammunition, and implements of war and should not endeavor to create trade opportunities for American exporters of such articles. They should, however, in countries to which the exportation of these articles is not prohibited, when requested to do so by American exporters or their agents or by prospective purchasers, follow the same procedure in giving information and advice as they would follow in respect to the trade in any other commodity, except, however, that in order to disassociate the American Government from the promotion of the export trade in arms, ammunition, and implements of war, they should decline to use official channels for the communication of inquiries or offers between prospective purchasers and sellers.
Attention is invited to the list of articles enumerated as arms, ammunition, and implements of war in the Proclamation of the President issued on September 25, 1935,45 pursuant to Section 2 of the Joint Resolution approved August 31, 1935, as follows:
- Rifles and carbines using ammunition in excess of cal. .265, and their barrels;
- Machine guns, automatic rifles, and machine pistols of all calibers, and their barrels;
- Guns, howitzers, and mortars of all calibers, their mountings and barrels;
- Ammunition for the arms enumerated under (1) and (2) above, i. e., high-power steel-jacketed ammunition in excess of cal. .265; filled and unfilled projectiles and propellants with a web thickness of .015 inch or greater for the projectiles of the arms enumerated under (3), above;
- Grenades, bombs, torpedoes, and mines, filled or unfilled, and apparatus for their use or discharge;
- Tanks, military armored vehicles, and armored trains.
Vessels of war of all kinds, including aircraft carriers and submarines.
- Aircraft, assembled or dismantled, both heavier and lighter than air, which are designed, adapted, and intended for aerial combat by the use of machine guns or of artillery or for the carrying and dropping of bombs, or which are equipped with, or which by reason of design or construction are prepared for, any of the appliances referred to in paragraph (2), below.
- Aerial gun mounts and frames, bomb racks, torpedo carriers, and bomb or torpedo release mechanisms.
Revolvers and automatic pistols of a weight in excess of 1 pound 6 ounces (630 grams), using ammunition in excess of cal. .265, and ammunition therefor.
- Aircraft assembled or dismantled, both heavier and lighter than air, other than those included in category III;
- Propellers or air screws, fuselages, hulls, tail units, and under carriage units;
- Aircraft engines.
- Livens projectors and flame throwers;
- Mustard gas, lewisite, ethyldichlorarsine, and Methyldichlorarsine.”
The list of arms, ammunition, and implements of war enumerated above should not be considered as exhaustive but it will serve as an indication of the nature of the articles to be considered as arms, ammunition, and implements of war for the purposes of this instruction.
It is not desired that publicity be given to this instruction. American diplomatic and consular officers may nevertheless explain to interested persons the policy set forth herein whenever, in their judgment, particular circumstances may make it advisable to do so.
Copies of this instruction have been sent to the Secretaries of War, the Navy, and Commerce, who have been requested to bring it to the attention of officers of their Departments, whose duties may involve the handling of business connected with the sale of arms, ammunition, and implements of war to purchasers in foreign countries.
Very truly yours,
- Department of State, Press Releases, September 28, 1935, p. 222.↩