The Secretary of State to the Chargé in France (Marriner)

No. 1206

Sir: I refer to instruction No. 930 of June 27, 1935, with which was transmitted the President’s instrument of ratification dated June 21, 1935, of the Convention for the Supervision of the International Trade [Page 457] in Arms and Ammunition and in Implements of War, signed at Geneva on June 17, 1925, and to your despatches No. 2109 of August 22, 1935,9 and No. 2141 of September 3, 1935, enclosing notes from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning this ratification.

I note that the Ministry stated that the signing of the first procès-verbal of deposit can take place only when fourteen Powers will have ratified the Convention, and that, further, so long as the condition to which the Government of the United States has subordinated the effect of its ratification shall not have been fulfilled, this ratification can not be counted as one of the fourteen ratifications required before the signing of the procès-verbal can take place.

Your attention is also invited to your despatch No. 867 of May 2, 1934,9 in which you quoted a noted from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated April 23, 1934, to the effect that “Bulgaria and Canada are ready to deposit their instruments of ratification of the Convention for the Control of the Trade in Arms and Ammunition.”

In this connection, I may add that a despatch of November 14, 1932,9 from the American Legation in Sofia reported that the Bulgarian Government had ratified that Convention without reservation.

I have noted, however, that League of Nations Document No. A.6(a).1935.V.Annex of August 28, 1935, entitled “Ratification of Agreements and Conventions Concluded under the Auspices of the League of Nations—Sixteenth List”, in enumerating on page forty-four the governments which have ratified or definitely acceded to the above-mentioned Convention, includes in that category a number of States, such as the British Empire, Australia, Denmark, France, and Sweden, which have ratified with very definite reservations. On the other hand, Bulgaria and Canada, which have apparently ratified without reservations, and the United States, which has ratified with reservations essentially similar to those made by the States mentioned in the preceding sentence, have been included in the category of those countries whose signature or accession to the Convention has not yet been perfected by ratification.

You are requested to ascertain why the French Government has permitted the deposit of the ratifications of the British Empire, Australia, Denmark, France, and Sweden to the Convention of 1925 and has refused to permit the deposit of the ratification of the United States. You are also requested to ascertain whether or not Bulgaria and Canada have actually deposited, or attempted to deposit, their ratifications of this Convention.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
R. Walton Moore
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