The Consul at Geneva (Everett) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 19.]
Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Consulate’s despatch No. 1628 Political of March 19, 1936,21 on the question of reaction in Geneva to President Roosevelt’s Pan-American Peace Project, in which it was indicated that although there were known to the Consulate at that time few indices on which might be based a precise estimate of Secretariat opinion, such facts as were known—that is, the nature of a memorandum prepared by a United States national in the Secretariat, the concern of Mr. Butler, Director of the International Labor Office, and the tentative plans of M. Avenol, the Secretary-General, for strengthening the relations between Geneva and Latin America—led to the tentative conclusion that the higher officials of the League were somewhat preoccupied with the possible effect of the Buenos Aires Conference on the League’s position in Latin America. In fact, up to a short time ago certain minor, but responsible, officials privately expressed their concern quite freely.
Since the despatch under reference was written the Consulate has been able to obtain further information which throws more light on the attitude now adopted by the higher officials of the Secretariat and, consequently, on “official” Secretariat policy. Of interest in this connection is the change which has apparently taken place in the opinions of Señor Azcarate (Spanish), Deputy Secretary-General of the League. Señor Azcarate’s views are significant in that during the past few weeks he has assumed the direct control of liaison between the Secretariat and the Latin-American States which up to that time had been largely in the hands of Señor Rodriguez (a Panamanian who is leaving the Secretariat at the expiration of his contract in the autumn), and Señor Nogueira (a Uruguayan who, it will be recalled, was present in Montevideo in December, 1933, during the Seventh Pan-American Conference).
A month ago in a private conversation with Mr. Cumming22 Señor Azcarate expressed some concern over the possibility of action being taken in the forthcoming conference at Buenos Aires which, particularly with regard to the neutrality of American States in relation to conflicts between non-American countries, might impose a dual allegiance upon the Latin-American States members of the League. Yesterday morning, however, when Mr. Cumming called on Señor [Page 19] Azcarate at the latter’s request, Señor Azcarate said (without referring to the previous conversation) that in response to inquiries from the League correspondents in Bogotá, Santiago, Mexico City, and La Paz, and also because of “loose statements” which had been made by some members of the Secretariat who had not sufficiently studied the factors involved, he and M. Avenol had formulated certain observations on the forthcoming Buenos Aires Conference which might be considered as embodying the official Secretariat viewpoint. He gave Mr. Cumming a copy of this memorandum (which I enclose, together with a translation) on the understanding that he was doing so privately and unofficially. This document was prepared for internal use and will probably not be published. Señor Azcarate called particular attention to the following statement which, he said, expressed the opinion which he and M. Avenol had derived from a careful examination of President Roosevelt’s letter of January 30 to the Presidents of the American Republics, Secretary Hull’s speech of April 14,23 and Assistant Secretary Sumner Welles’ address of April 15:24
“In the light always of these general ideas, the Secretariat of the League of Nations accordingly looks with confidence and sympathy upon this Pan-American Conference, in the conviction that, as President Roosevelt has very justly remarked, the results which it will be able to obtain for the preservation of peace among the countries of the American continent will complete and reinforce those which the League of Nations endeavors to obtain in order to preserve the peace of the world.”
In the conversation which ensued Señor Azcarate volunteered the statement that while at one time the Secretariat had had under consideration certain plans to strengthen the relations between Geneva and Latin America such as the establishment of one or two League “Bureaus”, (see top of page 3, Consulate’s despatch No. 1628 Political, of March 19, 1936), these plans were being held in abeyance until after the September, 1936, meeting of the Assembly. He added, with reference to a rumor current in press circles in Geneva, that no definite plans had been made for his making a trip to the various American States, including the United States, but that he might do so next winter—though it was as yet undecided.
With further reference to the enclosed memorandum, I may add that although the observations contained therein undoubtedly convey the considered opinion of the higher officials of the Secretariat, a certain undercurrent of uneasiness persists, nevertheless, among certain [Page 20] subordinate officials in regard to the effect which the results of the Pan-American Conference may eventually have upon the relations of Latin-American States with the League.
- Not printed.↩
- Hugh S. Cumming, Jr., Department of State officer detailed to the Consulate at Geneva.↩
- Department of State, Press Releases, April 18, 1936, p. 344.↩
- Address before the Maryland Federation of Women’s Clubs, at Baltimore, April 15, 1936; Department of State, The Way to Peace on the American Continent (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1936).↩