500.A15A4 Steering Committee/523: Telegram

The Minister in Sweden (Steinhardt) to the Secretary of State

34. Your telegram No. 8, April 27. Sandler informs me in strict confidence that the Swedish Government asked the Governments of Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland whether they were prepared to investigate and discuss the possibility of putting into effect as between certain small powers those parts of a general disarmament convention the preparation of which is most advanced from a technical point of view, namely, the parts which concern publicity of national defense expenditures, the regulation of the manufacture of and trade in arms and implements of war, and the creation of a permanent control organism. At the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Norway, held at Helsinki April 20 to 22, these Ministers agreed that conversations concerning such a convention should, if a general convention could not be brought about, be pursued in consultation with other small powers which might be interested.

Mr. Sandler further informs me that the Swiss Government has indicated it is not prepared to take part in these conversations and that no definite answer has as yet been received from the Belgian and Dutch Governments. He also says that a first preliminary text has been drafted on the basis of the texts drawn up at Geneva and that with particular reference to the publicity of national defense expenditures the Geneva texts have been somewhat simplified. He adds that this draft is now the object of examination by the competent authorities and that he will let me have the draft as soon as circumstances permit.