500.C1197/875: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva (Gilbert) to the Secretary of State

204. From Fuller.10

A proposal was made May 25 by the Turkish representative in discussing illicit traffic subcommittee report that the Opium Advisory Committee in its reports on illicit trade should in future mention no case until after guilt or innocence of those concerned has been positively established. Proposal received some French support. It would mean that any government could prevent publication of a given case by merely withholding replies to inquiries.
The Italian representative supported this and suggested that the Committee should refrain from analyzing the illicit traffic and from expressing opinions on its trend. This would render futile the Committee’s efforts against the illicit traffic.
I doubt whether these proposals which will be further discussed May 27 will be adopted but if either is the completed draft report will be sent back to the subcommittee to be redrafted whereupon the chairman thereof who is the Canadian representative will undoubtedly resign and probably all of the other members of the subcommittee including myself.
The Turkish representative’s suggestion was motivated by his objection to any mention in the report of the fact that over a year ago 2 tons of raw opium left Turkey apparently on forged Abyssinian import permit and have not been accounted for. The passage in no way reflected on the Turkish Government.
To follow the Turco-Italian suggestions would transform the Committee’s report on illicit traffic and the summaries of seizures into useless chapters of ancient history. It is only through publicity of the kind which it is now proposed to abolish that the Opium Advisory Committee has ever accomplished anything.
Should the Opium Advisory Committee be emasculated in the manner proposed there will be little or no reason for the American Government to continue sending a representative. Should circumstances demand I will intimate in the discussion that I gravely doubt whether it will be considered worth while for the American Government to send representatives in future if the Turco-Italian proposals are adopted. [Fuller.]11
  1. Stuart J. Fuller, Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs, representative in an expert and advisory capacity at the 20th session of the Advisory Committee of the League of Nations on the Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs.
  2. By telegram No. 208, June 4, 11 a.m., from the Consul at Geneva, Mr. Fuller reported that “Advisory Committee has rejected proposals to alter policy hitherto followed … in preparing reports.” (500.C1197/877)