The Ambassador in France (Straus) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 12.]
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s instruction No. 1206 of February 15, 1936, in regard to the Convention for the Supervision of the International Trade in Arms and Ammunition and Implements of War, signed at Geneva on June 17, 1925. The Department, among other things, directed the Embassy to ascertain why the French Government has permitted the deposit of the ratifications of the British Empire, Australia, Denmark, France and Sweden to this Convention and has refused to permit the deposit of the ratification of the United States.
Under date of February 28, 1936, the Embassy addressed a note, a copy of which is enclosed,10 to the Minister for Foreign Affairs requesting the information desired by the Department, and, on April 16, 1936, an officer of the Embassy called upon M. Lozé, Assistant Chief of Protocol, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an endeavor to obtain a reply to the Embassy’s note.
M. Lozé explained that the reason why the American notice of ratification had not been published in League of Nations Document No. A.6(a).1935.V.Annex of August 28, 1935, was that the Embassy’s note of July 8, 1935, notifying the French Government of ratification by the United States had not been received by the Foreign Office in time to permit its communication to Geneva prior to the publication of the document in question. He said that the French Government had notified the League of Nations of the ratification by the United States and that the next publication of the League upon this subject would show the United States as having ratified with reservations.
In answer to the inquiry of the officer of the Embassy, M. Lozé said that although the French Government had accepted custody of the ratifications of the various countries which had ratified, no procès-verbal had been signed in connection with the deposits. He said that, according to the terms of the Convention, the first procès-verbal could not be signed until fourteen countries had ratified, and that the Secretariat of the League had interpreted this to mean without reservation. M. Lozé added that, in each case of deposit, the ratification had merely been transmitted to the French Government under cover of a note from the mission concerned, and he permitted the officer of the Embassy to read a copy of the Foreign Office reply to the note under cover of which the British ratification had been deposited, which indicated [Page 459] that the British Embassy had merely transmitted the ratification for deposit, drawing attention in the body of its note to the reservations of the British Government. M. Lozé said that the other countries which had ratified with reservations had done likewise, and he expressed a willingness on the part of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to receive custody of the ratification of the United States in a similar manner. He reiterated, however, that no procès-verbal could be signed until fourteen countries had ratified without reservation.
The Embassy did not convey this information immediately to the Department as M. Lozé had promised, and continues to promise, to confirm it in a formal note from the Foreign Office. However, as the Department’s memorandum instruction No. 1282 of April 21, 1936,11 requests that the action in the matter be expedited, the Embassy has decided to transmit the above information without waiting for the formal reply from the Foreign Office.