The Consul at Geneva (Bucknell) to the Secretary of State

No. 335 Political

Sir: …

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The Assembly will have before it the replies of the governments on the two proposals contained in the Assembly’s resolution of September [Page 888] 30, 1937,3 namely (a) the conclusion of an international convention on the publicity of national defense expenditures, and (b) the examination of internal measures for the supervision of the manufacture and trade in arms, ammunitions and implements of war.

I am informed by a member of the Secretariat that the Third Committee of the Assembly will be constituted again this year to consider the disarmament questions on the agenda or any other aspects of disarmament which may be raised during the Assembly. The Bureau of the Disarmament Conference, in accordance with a decision taken by the League Council on May 11, 1938,4 will also hold a meeting during the session of the Assembly to consider the situation as regards the two questions referred to above.

The Secretariat, so I have been informed in confidence, has been giving consideration to the question as to whether the Third Committee or the Bureau should meet first. This question of procedure has some significance as regards the continuation of efforts on those aspects of disarmament which have been proposed or may be proposed as being at present susceptible of further development. The Secretariat is inclined to the opinion that if the Bureau meets first nothing will come of it and serious consideration of these questions will be further retarded. On the other hand, if the Third Committee meets first, it may give new directives to the Bureau and contribute a certain impetus to its further efforts. Stated in another way, if the powers (Great Britain and France presumably having the controlling voice) decide that the Bureau meet first, this may be considered as an indication that they are not prepared to pursue these questions further at the present time. On the other hand, a decision on their part for the prior meeting of the Third Committee would tend to indicate a desire to keep the matter alive.

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Respectfully yours,

Howard Bucknell, Jr.
  1. League of Nations, Official Journal, Special Supplement No. 169, p. 138.
  2. League of Nations, Official Journal, May–June 1938, p. 318.