500.CC/4–1745: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Caffery) to the Secretary of State

1911. This afternoon Chauvel raised the question of the desirability of France acting as a sponsor at San Francisco. He said that speaking informally he would like to outline the French position as follows: Although the French Government is not a sponsor it has already engaged in preliminary conversations and discussions in Washington on the question of trusteeship and an international court. In addition it has conducted exchanges of views with the USA Government through regular diplomatic channels. These preliminary conversations and exchanges of views have thus far proved entirely satisfactory. The French Government does not feel that it is in a less favored position or that there will be any discrimination against it because it is not a sponsor. On the whole the French are satisfied with their position insofar as UNCIO is concerned and any effort to change that position at this late date would call for discussions within the Cabinet and would probably take a considerable length of time.

On the other hand “if by becoming a sponsor the French position will be strengthened by concrete advantages or privileges which the sponsors have but which other participating governments do not have the French Government would wish to know so that all elements could be considered in taking a decision.” He concluded by stating that France desired to cooperate in every possible way to make the [Page 311] UNCIO a success. Nevertheless in the absence of specific material advantages gained by acting as a sponsor the French prefer to maintain their present position. He requested information as to what special advantages the sponsoring powers have which do not accrue to other participants. (ReEmbtel 1875, April 14.7)

I know that the Department may be weary of French vacillation but I send this for what it is worth.

  1. Not printed. In telegram 1553, April 18, 7 p.m., the Secretary replied that it would be inappropriate for this Government unilaterally to make any representation to the French Government as to special advantages of the sponsoring powers, inasmuch as the United States was but one of the four powers sponsoring the Conference (500.CC/4–1745).