500.A15A4 General Committee/1037: Telegram
The American Delegate (Wilson) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 26—3:14 p.m.]
993. The general discussion of the control features of chapter 4 of our draft was terminated this afternoon following the explanation which I had given yesterday concerning these provisions.
Aubert gave an exposition of the French thesis of the automatic and permanent control developing the idea that an adequate publicity on budgets and manufacture involves measures of auto-limitation. He declared that documentary control was inadequate even in this limited convention. Consequently control on the spot is an essential factor and must be concentrated upon the characteristic phase of the production of each object.
In spite of the pledge already given by the British to accept control as part of the general convention on limitation and reduction, Stanhope’s arguments were so vigorous against any conception of inspection on the spot as to cause surprise to the Committee. He stressed the necessity of relying on the good faith of the signatories as constituting an adequate guarantee for the execution of the treaties. He reiterated at length the necessity of limiting inspection to the examination of witnesses and the verification of reports in Geneva which form of control should be sufficient for this limited convention. In [Page 26] criticising the American proposal he pointed out that even under the conception of inspection on the spot our draft did not go far enough since it did not provide for constant inspection at all times of all production which was necessary if inspection on the spot was to be efficacious. He finally expressed the hope that the United States would withdraw its amendment to article 30.
The Polish, Russian, Czech, Spanish and Chinese delegates who also took part in the discussion supported in general our draft. With this meeting the general discussion has been concluded. The rapporteur will present to the Committee on Friday a program for its future work.