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into a conference on the subject of security and sanctions, we should have to consider possibility of withdrawing altogether.
Our present judgment (on which we should like to have your opinion) is that of course Wilson should be authorized to attend forthcoming meeting of Preparatory Commission but that he should be instructed to take no part in organization of proposed Security Commission or to accept a place on that Commission on behalf of the United States.
At same time it should be made plain that this Government intends to continue its representation on Preparatory Commission, participating in deliberations of that body and rendering assistance that it can in connection with the matters embraced in the original agenda. If Security Committee is eventually to report to Preparatory Commission, question of what course this Government would feel obliged to follow in that contingency would naturally command our consideration at that time.
The Ambassador in Belgium (Gibson) to the Secretary of State
BRUSSELS, November 10, 1927–5 p. m.
[Received November 10—5 p. m.] 79. Department's No. 54, November 8, 6 p. m. I consider it important that we be represented on Security Committee as discussions in that Committee will be constantly referred to in subsequent sessions of Preparatory Commission. This in no way commits us, as discussions in Security Committee will be of purely preparatory character like those of Preparatory Commisison; when strictly League of Nations questions are discussed our representative can make our nonparticipation clear by a reminder of our nonmembership, as we have always done in such cases in the past. The Committee will doubtless involve itself in inconclusive discussions regarding application of the Covenant and revival of the Geneva protocol. Our representative, in that event, will automatically revert to role of observer. He will be in position, however, to correct any misstatements which will be made from time to time.
Should we refuse to participate, past experience justifies belief that effort will be made to convince public opinion that it was with a desire to further consideration of disarmament that Security Committee had been set up to devise some method of creating security that would be acceptable to the League and the United States alike; and that because of our prejudice against the League of Nations, we had refused even
to listen to the discussion and that we had thereby blocked effectively any further progress. We avoid this by having someone present and letting the others demonstrate that they are not able to agree among themselves upon any security measures.
The Department might consider giving authorization to Wilson to point out that several years ago we joined in a four-power treaty 52 and that we consider this treaty (as we hope that the other signatories also consider it) is entirely adequate for security in its special terminology; and also that having accomplished this to meet our own needs we view the endeavors of the continental powers to solve their difficulties with the greatest sympathy. To do this would focus attention on that important treaty, would show our sympathy for the efforts of others, and would afford opportunity to indicate how they must work out their problem as a practical matter as we have done. A statement of this sort, carefully prepared, could demonstrate effectively that there is no justification for any attempt to hide behind our skirts and to assert that the nations of Europe cannot reach agreements among themselves for the reason that we will not accept League jurisdiction.
Of course, I agree that the discussions in the Committee might assume a character which would make desirable our withdrawal altogether from the Committee, but before that step is decided upon it seems to me that it is desirable to get some of the foregoing ideas clearly on record.
500.A15/592 : Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Wilson)
WASHINGTON, November 15, 1927-noon. 94. You are instructed to attend forthcoming session of Preparatory Commission 53 as Chief of the American Representation. You will be assisted by Mr. George Anderson Gordon, first secretary of embassy at Paris, Mr. Jay Pierrepont Moffat, first secretary of legation' at Berne and Mr. S. Pinkney Tuck, consul at Geneva, to whom you should issue appropriate instructions.
When proposal is brought up for a Committee on Security and Arbitration in accordance with the Assembly's Resolution of September 26, confirmed by the Council on September 27, you should refrain from expressing any opinion on advisability of proposed action; when, in your discretion, it becomes necessary, inform Preparatory Commission that in 1921 this Government concluded what might be denominated a security agreement with the Governments of Great Britain, France, and Japan for the Preservation of the General Peace and the Maintenance of Rights in Relation to Insular Possessions and Dominions in the Region of the Pacific Ocean. You may add that the Government of the United States believes, as we hope the other signatories believe, that this treaty is entirely adequate for security in its special field; that for that reason we look with greatest sympathy on endeavors of the continental powers to solve their difficulties in some similar manner, having recourse to machinery which is at their disposal. The fact is well known, furthermore, that the Government of the United States has always favored international arbitration and conciliation in principle and in practice; that it has entered into many bilateral treaties of arbitration and conciliation with various nations; that at any time it would be pleased to add to the number of these treaties which, if observed in good faith, it is believed will reduce to a minimum the danger of aggressive war. In view of its traditional policy of noninterference in European affairs and also in view of fact that it is not a member of the League of Nations, the American Government believes that it would be unable usefully to cooperate in the labors of the Committee the establishment of which is proposed. The American Government will be prepared, when a general disarmament conference may be called, to consider in light of its historic policy the recommendations made by a Security Committee working parallel with the Preparatory Commission, in whose labors this Government intends to continue its wholehearted cooperation.
Treaty between the United States of America, the British Empire, France, and Japan, signed at Washington, Dec. 13, 1921; Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. I, p. 33.
68 Fourth session, Nov. 30, 1927.
In regard to Secretary General's note of October 24, forwarded with Legation's L. N. No. 985, October 25, you may inform Sir Eric Drummond that you have been instructed to attend forthcoming session of Preparatory Commission, and on that occasion you will express your Government's views
the proposed Security Committee.54
500.A150/17 : Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Wilson)
WASHINGTON, November 22, 1927—6 p.m. 97. It is my belief that American sympathy with all endeavors to encourage disarmament can be made evident without representation of the United States on the Security Committee.
** For statement made by Mr. Wilson, Nov. 30, 1927, see League of Nations, Documents of the Preparatory Commission, etc., Series V, p. 18.
If there are likely to be efforts made to throw on this Government the blame for a possible failure to obtain results, it seems that this could more plausibly be done if the United States were represented on the Security Committee as an active participant; for, by reason of the fact that the United States is not a member of the League of Nations and also because of other conditions peculiar to this country, it would be especially difficult to avoid appearance of obstructing Committee's deliberations in event that representatives of other nations made deliberate effort to put the United States in a false position.
Should there be representation by an observer only, appearance of obstruction might also be brought about by fact that an observer would not be, naturally, in a position to offer constructive suggestions; instead, he would be compelled to call attention to strict limits which circumstances impose upon extent of formal American cooperation.
At meeting of Preparatory Commission when creation of Security Committee is under discussion, you might propose, or arrange to have proposed in interests of closer understanding and cooperation that procès-verbaux of meetings of the Committee be made available to members of the Commission and likewise that the procès-verbaux of the Commission be made available to the Committee.
If the United States should not be represented on the Committee, misrepresentation of the American point of view would do little harm to this Government if not made public, and if it were made public it could be answered by appropriate statements to the press either at Geneva or here.
It is my opinion that a statement on the attitude of the United States, which embodies point 1 of Department's 95, March 22, 6 p. m., to Gibson, could be made if necessary at a subsequent meeting of the Preparatory Commission itself next year, or anyway at the final disarmament conference toward which both the Commission and the Committee will work.
In view of foregoing instructions, you will follow Department's instruction 94, telegraphed November 15, noon. Should it become desirable or necessary, in your opinion, you may add to your statement on the American position by pointing out analogy between attitude Gibson took at meeting of Preparatory Commission on April 13,55 in regard to peculiar situation of this Government vis-à-vis question of League of Nations supervision and control of armaments and present position of the Government in regard to security pacts. Paul-Boncour,
See League of Nations, Documents of the Preparatory Commission, etc., Series IV, p. 273.
you will recall, showed a clear understanding of position which Gibson took on supervision and control, and with which our attitude on security agreements is wholly consistent. Repeat to Brussels by mail.
500.A15/606 : Telegram
The Chief of the American Representation on the Preparatory Commission (Wilson) to the Secretary of State
GENEVA, December 3, 1927—3 p. m.
[Received December 3—10:30 a. m.] 5. Fourth session Preparatory Commission closed today. Security Committee meets on or about February 20th, Preparatory Commission March 15th.
MEETING OF THE SPECIAL COMMISSION FOR THE PREPARATION OF A DRAFT CONVENTION ON THE PRIVATE MANUFACTURE OF ARMS AND AMMUNITION AND OF IMPLEMENTS OF WAR, GENEVA, MARCH 14-APRIL 25, 1927 56
The Secretary General of the League of Nations (Drummond) to the
Secretary of State
GENEVA, 17 December, 1926.
[Received December 31.] SIR: I have the honour to inform you that at its sitting of December 9th, 1926, the Council of the League of Nations adopted the following Resolution:
"The Council, "In view of the Resolution adopted by the Assembly on September 21st, 1926, with regard to the private manufacture of arms and ammunition and of implements of war,
"To refer the draft Convention prepared by the Committee to a special Commission composed of representatives of the present Members of the Council, on which representatives of the United States of America and of the Union of Sovietist Socialist Republics would be invited to sit, in order that this Commission may prepare a final draft which might serve as a basis for an international conference.
“This Commission is authorized to forward its final draft, through the Secretary General of the League of Nations, to all those States
For action taken at this meeting, see League of Nations, Report of the Special Commission to the Council on the Work of Its First Session (C.219.1927. IX,C.F.A.12.).