741.61/646: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Kennedy) to the Secretary of State

745. For the Secretary and the Under Secretary. My 734, May 24, 7 p.m. The text of a draft agreement which the British propose shall be presented by themselves jointly with France to the Soviet Government was delivered to the French Government today for approval. The text92a is substantially as follows:

The Governments of Great Britain, France and Russia, desiring in their capacity as members of the League of Nations to give effect to the principles of mutual support embodied in the Covenant of the League of Nations,93 have reached the following agreement:

If France and the United Kingdom are engaged in hostilities with any European power in consequence of (1) aggression by that power against another European state which they had in conformity with the wishes of that state undertaken to assist against such aggression, or (2) assistance given by them to another European state which had requested such assistance in order to resist violation of its neutrality, or (3) aggression by a European power against either France or Great Britain, Russia acting in accordance with the principles of article XVI, paragraphs 1 and 2, of the Covenant of the League of Nations, will give France and Great Britain all support and assistance in its power.
Sets forth the identical obligations as in 1 above on the part of France and Great Britain to the Government of Soviet Russia.
The three contracting Governments will concert as to methods by which such mutual support and assistance could in case of need be made effective.
In the event of there arising a threat which would call their undertakings of mutual support and assistance into operation, the three Governments will immediately enter into consultation with each other. The methods and scope of such consultations will at once be the subject of further discussions between the three Governments.
The obligation of rendering support and assistance in the cases outlined in preceding articles is without prejudice to the rights and position of other powers.
Each of the three Governments will communicate to the others the terms of any undertaking to which they are now committed, [Page 263] referred to in paragraphs 1 (1) and 2 (1) above, and before taking on any similar obligations in the future each of the three powers will consult with the others.
The agreement is to continue for 5 years and the three Governments will consult as to the desirability of renewal, with or without modifications, not less than 6 months before its expiration.

The Foreign Office is hopeful that by the very careful and precise definition in articles I and II of the circumstance under which the obligation to render aid will become effective, any existing apprehensions of Poland and Rumania as to the desirability of Russian aid will be allayed and that the terms of article V will serve to allay the apprehensions of the Baltic countries that Russian aid might under certain circumstances be thrust upon them without their wishing it.

  1. For official text, see Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919–1939, Third Series, vol. v, doc. No. 624, p. 679.
  2. Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vol. xiii, p. 69.