The Secretary of State to Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg

My Dear Senator Vandenberg: I have received your letter of January 11, 1935, concerning the following interpretative reservation to the resolution of adherence to the World Court, which you state you have submitted in the Senate:

“Resolved, further, That adherence to the said Protocol and Statute hereby approved shall not be so construed as to require the United States to depart from its traditional policy of not intruding upon, interfering with, or entangling itself in the political questions of policy or internal administration of any foreign state; nor shall adherence to the said Protocol and Statute be construed to imply a relinquishment by the United States of its traditional attitude toward purely American questions.”

I am glad to comply with your request for an expression of my opinion upon this matter.

You state that it is your view “that the American status described in this paragraph is fully protected by the text of the proposed contract”, i. e., the three Protocols. It is also my belief that this paragraph is not necessary for the protection of any American interest inasmuch as the Protocols and Statute of the Court contain absolutely nothing which could in any way “require the United States to depart from its traditional” or any other policies. The United States by adhering to the Court Protocols confers no jurisdiction on the Court whatsoever. It is my opinion that such an encumbering and unnecessary [Page 389] provision in the resolution of adherence could only have the effect of misleading the public in an irresponsible manner.

Furthermore, it seems to me that without this provision we are left free to determine our policies as the circumstances may dictate and that we would acquire nothing by its inclusion except potential ill-will and embarrassment.

With warm personal regards [etc.]

Cordell Hull

[On January 29, 1935 (legislative day of January 21) the Senate rejected the resolution of adherence to the Permanent Court of International Justice, yeas 52, nays 36, two-thirds of the Senators present not having voted in the affirmative; Congressional Record, volume 79, part 1, page 1147.]