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us I have discussed already in my preceding reports, both telegraphic and written.
Also in regard to the Final Act, if the Department will be good enough to consult the Legation's despatches Nos. 170 of November 9, 1927 and 171 of November 10, 1927, together with my telegram from Geneva, No. 59 of November 7, 11 p. m.,25 it will have before it a complete outline of the articles to which we took exception and of the failure to have these exceptions accepted by the conference. I merely reiterate what I have before stated, that the Final Act has no binding force, it is not signed by the delegates as Plenipotentiaries of their Government, but is open for signature to any person who attended the Conference. It is a compilation of resolutions adopted by the individuals attending the conference. A signatory state may instruct its delegate to sign the convention and protocol without instructing him to sign the Final Act.
Relative to the convention itself, I append herewith an analysis " in which the convention, as finally signed, is compared article by article with the original draft text of the convention issued by the Economic Committee. At the same time short notes and comments are appended, together with reference to those telegrams and despatches which deal with the particular subject. In the preparation of this annex I am indebted in a large measure to Dr. Lyon, the Commercial Attaché of this Legation.
Certain observations of a general nature occur to me. The convention, as the Department will note, is of a reciprocal nature and this theory of reciprocity has been emphasized in article 1. The benefits of the abolition of restrictions and prohibitions accrue only to those states which sign the convention. As a corollary to this situation there is nothing to prevent a state signatory to the convention from increasing in any way it sees fit its present categories of prohibitions and restrictions as against a state which is not a signatory to the convention, so long as such action does not unduly affect the trade of another signatory power.
There are certain faults, some obvious and some not so visible in the convention. It is to be regretted that exceptions are permitted of any class or kind. The convention would have been a simpler document and a much more satisfactory document, from our point of view, had the original text of the Economic Committee not only been adhered to but strengthened, especially as to article 5. Also the further meeting which will take place in the early summer of 1928
None printed; for minutes concerning adoption of the final text of the final act of the Conference, see Proceedings of the Conference, p. 140.
20 Not printed.
will be faced with a number of very thorny questions; for example, the decision as to what states must ratify the convention before it enters into effect. It is a pity that this decision had to be deferred to a future date but there seemed no possibility of reaching a solution until the convention was finally drawn up and until a full knowledge was available of all the reservations that would form part of it. Also the permission for states to introduce other reservations up to February 1st which may be discussed at this future conference may bring further difficult questions, although urgent pleas were made in the conference and the hope was expressed that the reservations should rather be reduced than increased by that time. The long delay which must elapse before the convention can be effective (at the earliest this can hardly take place before the summer of 1929) is also a source of regret. However, this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that a signatory power undertakes not to increase its prohibitions or restrictions during this period.
As opposed to these weaknesses there would appear to be certain advantages which would accrue to the United States if it participated in this treaty. In spite of the many reservations, there will be, if the treaty goes into force, an enormous number of prohibitions and restrictions abolished. The reservations do not appear to be of such a nature that they greatly affect the trade of the United States, whereas many of the restrictions that will be dropped in favor of signatory states do so affect our trade very seriously.
Should the Government of the United States decide that this treaty should be signed I call attention to the fact that it would be well if this decision were taken before the 1st of February 1928, since states signing the treaty after that date may not present reservations under article 6.27 While many of the delegates held that our prohibition of export of helium is adequately covered in article 4, paragraph 2, there were others who took a contrary view. I consider it advisable, therefore, in the event that we do sign, that we should make a definite reservation regarding helium and not be put on the defensive in the future regarding our maintenance of this prohibition.
I am appending herewith certain communications which I have received from the advisers containing their views regarding the convention which was eventually signed.28
I have [etc.]
HUGH R. WILSON
The convention was signed on the part of the United States, Jan. 30, 1928; Department of State Treaty Series No. 811.
Communications not printed.
PARTICIPATION OF THE UNITED STATES IN MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE OF EXPERTS ON DOUBLE TAXATION AND TAX EVASION, LONDON, APRIL 4-12, 1927 29
551.2 A 2/-: Telegram
The Chargé in Switzerland (Marriner) to the Secretary of State
BERNE, January 13, 1927-noon.
7. My 138, December 28, 3 p. m.30 Letter from League Secretariat states that on January 12th experts on double taxation decided to hold next meeting in London on April 4th, 1927, and have expressed the hope that an expert from the United States will take part in that meeting.31
Secretariat requests to be informed as soon as possible of name of American expert so that formal invitation may be sent him.
551.2 A 2/5 : Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Switzerland (Marriner)
WASHINGTON, February 17, 1927-1 p. m.
19. Your despatch No. 1080, January 13, 1927.30 You may advise the Secretary General of the League that this Government takes pleasure in designating Professor Thomas S. Adams, of Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, as an American expert to attend the forthcoming meeting of the Committee of Experts on Double Taxation and Tax Evasion at London, April 4, 1927.
551.2 A 2/8
Memorandum by Mr. Wallace McClure, Assistant to the Economic
[WASHINGTON,] March 16, 1927. Professor Adams called at the Office of the Economic Adviser on Thursday afternoon, March 10, 1927, for the purpose of discussing with officers of the Department of State certain questions suggested by Professor Adams' mission to represent this Government at the forthcoming League of Nations Conference on double taxation.
*For report of the sessions of this Committee, see League of Nations, Double Taxation and Tax Evasion: Report Presented by the Committee of Technical Experts on Double Taxation and Tax Evasion (C.216.M.85.1927.II).
30 Not printed.
The United States had not been represented at the meeting of the Committee of Experts on Double Taxation and Tax Evasion at Geneva on Jan. 5, 1927.
Those present were, besides Professor Adams, Doctor Arthur N. Young, Economic Adviser; Mr. C. M. Barnes, Assistant Solicitor; Mr. F. D. K. LeClercq, of the Division of Western European Affairs, and Mr. Wallace McClure, Assistant to the Economic Adviser.
Professor Adams discussed briefly certain recent developments in the matter of double taxation among European countries, especially the considerable multiplication of bilateral treaties for the purpose of avoiding double taxation. He mentioned the fact that the program of the forthcoming Conference calls for the preparation of a model bilateral treaty for recommendation to countries which may desire to negotiate on the subject. Those present were inclined to the view that while a multilateral convention, open to signature by all countries, would theoretically, at least, prove a better solution to the problem of double taxation, such a solution might not now be practicable.
Professor Adams inquired concerning the attitude of the Department of State toward treaty provisions which might have the effect of overruling Acts of Congress. He had in mind the possibility of a convention on double taxation later being negotiated that might contain provisions different from those of our national revenue laws. The representatives of the Department of State stated that as a matter of policy the Department undertook so far as possible to avoid placing in its treaties provisions which might be in conflict with existing statute law. It was suggested that it would be best to put in the next revenue law some general provision contemplating reciprocal agreements to avoid double taxation.
The possible usefulness of the most-favored-nation clause in solving the problem of double taxation was discussed. Professor Adams inquired particularly whether provisions in recent commercial treaties might have any relation to the problem in hand. The representatives of the Department of State were of opinion that the most-favorednation clause in the treaty with Germany (December 8, 1923) 82 and similar treaties subsequently concluded, did not apply to internal taxation, and that the provisions in Article I and Article VIII of the German treaty in regard to taxation did not provide for mostfavored-nation treatment. It is customary in treaties to accord national rather than most-favored-nation treatment. It was further suggested that the most-favored-nation clause would probably not be useful in solving matters of double taxation at the present time. The practice of various countries, so far as the imposition of double taxation is concerned, is now so diverse as to make it of doubtful policy for a country to promise in advance to accord to any particular country as good treatment as it may bargain for in the future with 32 Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. I, p. 29.
some third country. It was thought that the right to make special bargains on the subject, without being committed in advance to generalize the concessions granted, would for the present, perhaps, be the appropriate policy for this Government to follow.
Professor Adams indicated that he expected concrete results from the forthcoming Conference and that, though at first dubious of the practical purposes of those backing it, he was now convinced that they intended to accomplish something, and that the countries of Europe were prepared to come to agreements on many points, reserving other points for the reconciliation of differences of opinion and probable agreement in the future.
RADIOTELEGRAPH CONVENTION BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND OTHER POWERS, SIGNED NOVEMBER 25, 1927 3
Treaty Series No. 767
Radiotelegraph Convention Between the United States of America and Other Powers, Signed at Washington, November 25, 1927 35
INTERNATIONAL RADIOTELEGRAPH CONVENTION
Concluded among the Governments of:
Union of South Africa, French Equatorial Africa and other colonies, French West Africa, Portuguese West Africa, Portuguese East Africa and the Portuguese Asiatic possessions, Germany, Argentine Republic, Commonwealth of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Republic of Colombia, Spanish Colony of the Gulf of Guinea, Belgian Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyrenaica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Republic of El Salvador, Eritrea, Spain, Estonia, United States of America, Finland, France, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Republic of Haiti, Republic of Honduras, Hungary, British India, Dutch East Indies, French Indo-China, Irish Free State, Italy, Japan, Chosen, Taiwan, Japanese Sakhalin, the Leased Territory of
"For correspondence preliminary to the meeting of the Third International Radiotelegraph Conference at which this convention was signed, see Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. 1, pp. 297 ff. For proceedings of the Conference, see Executive Document B, 70th Cong., 1st sess., p. 77. For text of the general regulations and appendixes to this convention, and for text of the supplementary regulations (not signed by the United States), see ibid., p. 1; or the Department of State Treaty Series No. 767; or, 45 Stat. 2760.
Signed in French; the translation printed in the Department of State Treaty Series is reproduced here. Ratification advised by the Senate, Mar. 21 (legislative day of Mar. 20), 1928; ratified by the President, Oct. 8, 1928; ratification of the United States deposited, Oct. 8, 1928; proclaimed by the President, Jan. 1, 1929.