335. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961


  • Mr. A. Gilmore Flues, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
  • Mr. James A. Reed, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
  • IO—Mr. Cleveland
  • L/T—Mr. Bevans
  • OES—Miss Dougherty

Mr. Flues’ call on Mr. Cleveland today was purportedly for the purpose of introducing Mr. Flues’ successor, Mr. Reed.

After introductions, however, Mr. Reed stated that they would like to discuss this Government’s position regarding the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961. Mr. Flues stated that he would be remaining on at Treasury as a Consultant to see several matters through, including that of the Single Convention.

Mr. Flues summed up Treasury’s position regarding the Convention. He felt that the 1953 Protocol contained provisions more acceptable to Treasury, and asked if the Department would consider again asking the Greek and Turkish Governments whether it is their intention to ratify the 1953 Protocol, which needs ratification by only one of them to bring it into force. He stated that the Greek official with whom he had discussed the subject on his previous trip,2 had since been deceased, and that he felt his successor was inclined to look a little more encouragingly at the subject.

Mr. Cleveland stated that the subject of narcotics control was the responsibility of the Treasury Department, and that it was not the position of the State Department to ask Treasury to accept a treaty under which they felt they could not operate. He asked whether, if certain provisions were included in the Single Convention, Treasury would be satisfied with it, to which both Mr. Flues and Mr. Reed answered yes. Mr. Flues thought that perhaps another conference might be held and the Single Convention amended to include these provisions. Mr. Cleveland stated that, if Treasury considered the Single Convention unacceptable, we would not only not seek ratification of it, but we would circularize other governments advising that we did not plan to [Page 738] ratify and give our reasons for this decision. He pointed out that it was up to Treasury to prepare a memorandum which we could use in circularizing other governments. Mr. Bevans suggested that in the preparation of such memorandum, care be taken that it contain specifics rather than general conclusions.

Mr. Cleveland felt that a new conference might be held at a later date at which a new Single Convention might be negotiated.

Mr. Bevans pointed out that, even if the 1953 Protocol comes into force, we will only have 40 countries parties to it, and that this was less than half the present number of countries in the world. He stated that at the conference in New York at which the Single Convention was adopted, the African states had made it quite clear that they would not become parties to the 1953 Protocol, and it was equally clear that neither the UK nor any members of the Soviet Bloc would ratify it.

To sum up, Mr. Cleveland decided:

That since Treasury was opposed to the Single Convention, we would not seek ratification of it.
That we would again seek to obtain information as to whether Greece or Turkey is planning to ratify the 1953 Protocol. Mr. Flues will attempt to have a talk with Ambassador Labouisse before he leaves for Athens and brief him on this. He also indicated that he would communicate with Ambassador Hare.
That we would circularize other governments informing them that we did not plan to seek ratification of the Single Convention, and giving them our reasons for not doing so. In this connection, it was up to Treasury to provide State with a memorandum giving specific reasons which we might use. Mr. Bevans, Mr. Mulliken and Miss Dougherty were to work with Treasury in seeing that this memorandum is obtained.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1960–63, 345.2/1–2562. Official Use Only. Drafted by Helen E. Dougherty.
  2. Regarding Flues’ visit to Greece in July 1961, see Document 331.