511.4A2A/875

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Japan ( Grew )

No. 1721

Sir: The Department has received League of Nations document no. O. C. 1748, dated November 22, 1938, containing information that the Secretary General was notified on November 2, 1938 that the Government of Japan had withdrawn the mandate of its representative on the Opium Advisory Committee. A further League document, no. C. 6.1939. XI, dated January 3, 1939, has also been received in which there was communicated the text of a letter dated October 31, 1938 from Mr. Shiko Kusama, who gave notice of his inability to accept appointment by the League Council as a member of the Permanent Central Opium Board.

The Department assumes, of course, that the Japanese Government will continue to fulfil its obligations under the Narcotics Limitation Convention of 1931.23

Should, however, anything come to your attention which might be taken to indicate that the Japanese Government contemplates any change in the manner in which, pursuant to Articles 21 and 23 of the Narcotics Limitation Convention, it has hitherto submitted to the other parties to that Convention annual reports on the traffic in narcotic drugs, individual reports on specific cases of illicit traffic, and reports on changes in laws and regulations, the Department desires to be kept informed.

Should anything come to your attention which might be taken to indicate that the Japanese Government contemplates any change in the manner in which it has hitherto met its obligations under the Narcotics Limitation Convention of 1931 to submit quarterly and annually to the Permanent Central Opium Board the statistical reports and the estimates stipulated in that treaty, the Department desires also to be informed. The Embassy will bear in mind that the Permanent Central Opium Board is quite independent of the League of Nations in performing its functions. Its sole actual connection with the League is found in the fact that the League provides its clerical staff [Page 435] and in the fact that its members are chosen by the League Council acting, as provided by the treaty which created the Board, in conjunction with representatives of the United States and of Germany (in case those Governments see fit so to cooperate) as an electoral body. It may be pointed out that the Permanent Central Opium Board itself has consistently insisted upon and maintains its complete technical independence. Unlike all other bodies forming part of, or associated with, the League, the Permanent Central Opium Board and the Drug Supervisory Body owe their existence to multilateral treaties other than the Treaties embodying the Covenant of the League. They are thus in a sense independent of the League and would presumably continue to exist even should the League be entirely dissolved. It is highly questionable whether it is even correct to refer to them as organs of the League.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
R. Walton Moore
  1. Signed at Geneva, July 13, 1931, Foreign Relations, 1931, vol. i, p. 675.