The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Estonia (Leonard)
6. Your 9 and 10, April 13 and 25. This Government desires to have the treaty remain in force and appreciates very much Estonia’s continued cooperation in this regard. However, we are doubtful that the Foreign Office’s proposal of April 13, 1938 to extend the existing treaty until a new agreement could be reached is adequate to accomplish this purpose. The proposal, among other things, might constitute notice of intention to terminate the treaty within less than 1 year, depending upon the date of conclusion of a new agreement. Notice of intention to terminate the treaty within less than 1 year cannot be given under the terms of Article 29. Termination on less than 1 year’s notice could be accomplished only by agreement between the two countries, requiring, insofar as the United States is concerned, the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification. Moreover, it should be noted that the question presented is not one of extending the treaty but rather a question of permitting the treaty to continue in force by Estonia’s withdrawal of its notice of intention to terminate it. Once notice of intention to terminate has been given, the treaty may be continued in force only by withdrawal of that notice before the expiration of 1 year by the party which gave it.
Please inform appropriate officials orally in the foregoing sense and say that your Government would be grateful if Estonia could see its way clear to address another note to the Legation embracing at least (1) withdrawal of its notice of May 15, 1937, in so far as it operates to terminate the treaty on May 22, 1938 and (2) specific notice of intention to modify or terminate the treaty on May 22, 1939 in accordance with the provisions of Article 29 thereof. If the Foreign Office objects to a note along the foregoing lines, a communication more or less precisely like that of the Estonian note of May 15, 1937 with appropriate changes of dates and references, would also meet our requirements. Unless the new note is unduly long, cable the text verbatim.
If the Estonian officials do not desire to address a new note to the Legation along either of the foregoing lines, please report their reasons fully and give details of the technical difficulties which you indicate may arise due to procedure in confirming or extending treaties by the new Parliament.