500.A15A4 Steering Committee/556: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland ( Wilson ) to the Secretary of State

1083. Stevenson39 under instructions from Eden called today to show me draft of what Cranborne will say in the Bureau. While showing frank skepticism of any practical results, the speech advocates in lukewarm terms that the Bureau request the Secretary General to send the draft of convention on budgetary publicity to the members of the Disarmament Conference “past and [present]” and ask them whether they are ready to accept the principle and put into force a convention on those lines.

I had talked to Massigli last night and had gathered the impression that the French program was not yet definite. Stevenson, however, [Page 18] tells me the French delegation met this morning and determined upon the advocacy of program which he summarized as follows:

  • “1. The French Government desire that the Bureau should lay down a programme of work comprising three elements:—(a) budgetary publicity, (b) control of arms manufacture and trade, (c) limitation air armaments.
  • 2. In the event of an unfavorable reply being received from Germany and Italy or other powers to any question which the Bureau might put to them regarding budgetary publicity, the French Government desire, nevertheless, to proceed with the examination of the existing draft convention on that subject and its adaptation for eventual application.”

I then showed Stevenson our text. After reading it he said that he wished heartily that the British delegation could do exactly the same thing. There was little pressure on the British Government to urge any steps in disarmament at the time. Unfortunately, however, their representative in the Third Committee last September had spoken about publicity or budgetary expenditure and they were reluctant to seem to recede from a position which they had taken publicly. Nevertheless, he said he was going to talk to Eden as to the possibility of modifying their speech to harmonize more with our ideas.

  1. Ralph C. S. Stevenson, Acting Counselor, British Foreign Office.