500.A15A4 General Committee (Arms)/104: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the American Delegate ( Wilson )

473. 1. The following amended text is suggested for the addition to Article 2 suggested in Paragraph 3 of Department’s No. 472, February 25, 7 p.m.:

“Nothing in this Convention shall be construed as obligating the H. C. P. to permit or to prevent the export or transit in time of war for the use of either belligerent of arms and implements of war, nor shall the permitting or the prevention of such export or transit or the issuance of or the refusal to issue such licenses as are required by the provisions of this Convention be considered an unneutral act.”

2. This Government is party to a number of treaties containing provisions similar to Article 6 of the Treaty between the United States and Bolivia of 185849 as follows:

“… nor shall any prohibitions be imposed on the exportation or importation of any articles the produce or manufactures of the United States or of the Republic of Bolivia, to or from the territories of the United States, or to or from the territories of the Republic of Bolivia, which shall not equally extend to all other nations.”

Similar provisions occur in commercial treaties between other governments. Some question has arisen as to whether the refusal of a government to issue licenses for the exportation of arms to a country with which such a treaty provision was in force might not be construed as a breach of the treaty. In order that any doubts on this point may be allayed, it is suggested that when an appropriate occasion arises, you propose or arrange to have proposed a new Article 17 as follows:

“The H. C. P. agree that the refusal of any H. C. P. to issue an export license for arms, ammunition or implements of war shall not be considered as constituting a contravention of any treaty stipulation prohibiting the placing of restrictions on the exportation of articles of commerce.”

  1. Hunter Miller (ed.), Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, vol. 7, pp. 733, 739.