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500.C1197/239 : Telegram The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Wilson)

WASHINGTON, December 8, 1928-noon. 106. Your 117, December 6, 11 a.m.81

1. You may inform the Secretary General of the League of Nations, in reply to his note to you of October 16,82 that the Commission referred to therein will be made welcome in the Philippine Islands and that the Governor General of the Philippine Islands will render all possible assistance to it in connection with its investigations. You may

add that this Government will appreciate receiving a copy of any report that may be rendered by the proposed Commission. Please inform Department personnel of Commission and dates when it will visit Philippines immediately you can obtain information.

2. [Paraphrase.] Although the United States Government, in principle, would not be disposed to object to any American serving on the Permanent Central Board, manifestly this Government could not suggest, in view of its inability to take part in electing the Board, that an American be elected to it, nor take any action which could be construed as recommending or endorsing any individual American for a Board position.

The Secretary General of the League of Nations should, therefore, be informed by you that the matter is one in regard to which the Department of State would prefer to express no opinion. [End paraphrase.]


511.4 A 2a/23 : Telegram
The Consul at Geneva (Rand) to the Secretary of State

GENEVA, December 15, 1928–11 a. m.

[Received December 15—10:15 a.m.] The Council of the League has appointed May 88 (American) a member of the Central Board provided for by the Geneva Opium Convention of 1925. Full report by


511.4 A 2a/24 : Telegram
The Minister in Switzerland (Wilson) to the Secretary of State

BERNE, December 15, 1928–3 p.m.

[Received 9:05 p. m.] 121. Department's 89, September 29, 2 p. m. Have received from Drummond text of memorandum adopted by Council on December 14 which will be released to press this afternoon. Text follows:

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“The Council of the League of Nations wishes to express its appreciation of the directness and frankness of the reply of the Secretary of State of the United States of America to its invitation to participate in the selection of the Permanent Central Board provided for by the Geneva Convention of February 1925. It feels sure that the Government of the United States would wish it to reply in the same spirit of frankness and with the same desire to promote effective international understanding and cooperation in this most difficult work.

The Council regrets that the United States Government does not find it possible to accept its invitation. It cordially welcomes however the statement that the Government, in addition to observing its obligations under The Hague Convention, will endeavor to furnish such information as the Permanent Central Board may request. It also notes with pleasure that in the view of the United States Government the Geneva Convention 'in the matter of manufactured drugs and the control transportation may be regarded as an improvement over The Hague Convention of 1912.

At the same time the Secretary of State put forward specific criticisms of the Geneva Convention. In regard to the first of these criticisms the Council would merely point out that the provisions as regards the limitation of the production of raw opium and coca leaves to the medical and scientific needs of the world, and the control of the production and distribution of all opium and coca leaf derivatives which are referred to as inadequate, represented the maximum of progress upon which agreement could be reached in 1925 by an international conference composed of the accredited representatives of forty-one powers after exhaustive discussions extending over a period of three months.

As to the second criticism made by the Secretary of State the Council desires to emphasize its complete agreement with the opinion of the Government of the United States that the unity of purpose and joint responsibility of the powers is essential to an effective control of the traffic in opium and narcotic drugs. But it cannot share the view that the Geneva Convention tends to destroy the unity of purpose and joint responsibility of the powers accomplished by The Hague Convention. In the judgment of the Council the Geneva Convention should be regarded as supplementary to The Hague Convention. The obligations of the latter remain undiminished. Indeed it is the purpose of the Geneva Convention, as its preamble sets forth, to complete and strengthen the provisions of The Hague Convention. Moreover the Council, having for years pressed for the ratification of The Hague Convention until now it is nearly universally accepted, believes that the effective method of preserving and strengthening such unity of purpose and joint responsibility as exist today amongst the nations is to continue to press for the widest possible ratification of the Geneva Convention in addition to the strictest enforcement of the provisions of The Hague Convention.

The Council has steadily adhered to this view and has striven to give effect to it during the last three years. In doing so it has accepted the advice offered to it by its opium advisory committee.

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At every session held during the last three years the advisory committee on traffic in opium and other dangerous drugs has urgently and unanimously pressed upon the attention of the Council their judgment on this matter. The nature and gravity of that judgment [are] indicated in the following passage from a recent report by the committee to the Council: 'The committee regards the immediate ratification and the rigid enforcement of the Geneva Convention of 1925 as the most valuable single step which can at present be taken to combat the illicit traffic. It is glad that this view has been unanimously indorsed by the Council and the Assembly, and it desires to reiterate it. A close examination of all the material connected with the illicit trade which has come before it since its last session serves to confirm the correctness of its views. Time after time, in case after case, the committee has been forced irresistibly to the conclusion that, until the Geneva Convention comes into operation, it will be difficult to secure the effective application of measures which experience has shown to be essential if the illicit traffic is to be effectively checked.' (Report to the Council on the work of the tenth session of the committee, document C. 521. M. 179. 1927. XI.)

In the light of such a judgment the Council while firmly convinced that there ought to be the strictest adherence to the provisions of The Hague Convention cannot share the view of the American Government that “until there can be devised some substitute for The Hague Convention more satisfactory than the Geneva Convention the eradication of the abuse of narcotic drugs will be more likely to be achieved by strict observance of the provisions of The Hague Convention.'

The Geneva Convention incorporates at least part of the accumulated experience of several years effort in this field such as for instance the import certificate system and the extension of the system of control to crude cocaine, ecgonine, coca leaves and Indian hemp and the provision of definite machinery for still further extension to other drugs; it has been accepted by many states as offering a valuable advance on The Hague Convention and it has already been definitely ratified or adhered to by twenty-seven governments. The Council cannot but feel that the experience gained through its application may determine at no distant date a still further advance towards that goal which the United States in common with other nations has in view.

The Council desires in conclusion to return once more to the point emphasized so strongly by the Secretary of State in his communication—the fact that the traffic in narcotic drugs can be controlled only by international cooperation and by the fullest possible recognition by the powers of their joint responsibility. The Council highly appreciates the cooperation already given by the United States in particular by the transmission of annual reports and by (seizure?] reports, drawn up in accordance with the forms agreed upon by the advisory committee, by the adoption and enforcement of the import certificate system as prescribed by the Geneva Convention, by its interest in the work of the advisory committee and finally by the acceptance of the invitation of the League of Nations to include the Philippines within the scope of the commission of inquiry into the control of opium smoking in the Far East.

The Council earnestly hopes that even if there be no complete agreement on all points the United States Government will continue to extend so far as possible the practical collaboration which thus happily

exists." 85





The Secretary of State to the Minister in Sweden (Harrison) No. 74

WASHINGTON, July 31, 1928. Sir: During the International Radio Conference held in Washington from October 4 to November 25, 1927,56 a Special Committee was organized to consider what action should be taken with respect to the report drawn up at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, in 1926, by the “Committee for the Study of Code Language”, provided for by the International Telegraph Conference held at Paris in 1925.87

At its fourth plenary session the International Radio Conference adopted the following resolution:

“1. The Washington Conference is not qualified to deal with the question of code language previously studied by the Committee of Cortina d'Ampezzo;

“2. In view of the provisions of Article 15 of the International Telegraph Convention of St. Petersburg 88 and the reservation formulated by some telegraph administrations not represented at Washington, the Committee constituted by the Radiotelegraph Conference can not transform itself into an International Telegraph Conference to deal with the question of code language.

"Because the solution to be given to the proposals of the Cortina Committee is of an urgent character, the recommendation is expressed that the next International Telegraph Conference, which is to meet at Brussels in 1930, be advanced in accordance with the rules of Paragraph 88 of the International Telegraph Regulations (Paris, 1925) 89 and be held in 1928, it being understood that only the question of code language shall be treated there.”

$ The Secretary of State, in telegram No. 111, Dec. 29, to the Minister in Switzerland, announced that John K. Caldwell, Consul General, assigned to the Division of Far Eastern Affairs, Department of State, for special work in connection with the control of traffic in narcotic drugs since June 13, 1928, would "attend unofficially" the 12th_session of the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs, at Geneva, beginning Jan. 17, 1929 (Aile No. 500.C1197/229).

** For radiotelegraph convention, see Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. I, p. 288. For proceedings of the conference, see S. Ex. Doc. B, 70th Cong., 1st sess., p. 77. " See Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. I, pp. 287 ff.

Signed July 10/22, 1875; League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. LVII, p. 213. ** Ibid., p. 201.

As the French Government is charged with the handling of matters relating to the International Telegraph Union this Government advised the French Government of the action taken on the subject at the Washington Conference and the French Government, through the International Bureau of the Telegraph Union at Berne, requested members of the Union to advise the French Government and the International Bureau whether they desired that the Brussels Conference be advanced from 1930 to 1928.

The American Minister at Berne reported on April 23, 1928,91 that he had been advised by the International Bureau that the necessary ten countries had requested that the Brussels Conference be held in 1928. The Minister at Berne further stated, on April 28, 1928,91 that it was believed that the Conference at Brussels would be convened in September or October next.

The Ambassador of Belgium at this Capital, in a note dated July 18, 1928, 91 stated that the Conference would be held at Brussels beginning September 10, 1928, and on behalf of his Government extended an invitation to this Government to send representatives to the Conference.

As the Conference to be held at Brussels will consider the report of the Special Committee drawn up at Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1926, dealing with the question of the use of code language and the related question of the rates to be charged in connection with the use of code language, American concerns engaged in export and import business will be seriously affected by the results of the Conference. This is particularly true since some of the proposals involve the raising of rates for the handling of telegrams. It was believed, therefore, that it would be highly desirable for the United States to participate in the Conference and, accordingly, the invitation issued by the Belgian Government was accepted.*1

The Department recommended to the President that the American delegation consist of yourself as chairman, Mr. John Goldhammer, vice president of the Commercial Cable Company, and Mr. Charles Henry Shedd, Department Manager for Swift and Company, Chicago. The President replied on July 26, 1928,91 and stated that he approved the appointment of the persons named as the American representatives to the Brussels Conference.

It is expected that the other representatives will be accompanied by Mr. William R. Vallance, of this Department, Lieutenant E. M. Webster, United States Coast Guard, Major William F. Friedman, War Department and Mr. Harry F. Coulter, Department of Commerce, as technical advisors, Mr. Fernand L. J. Dumont as translator

"Not printed.

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