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DISAGREEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE WITH DECISION OF A CHILEAN
COURT THAT A DIPLOMATIC SECRETARY Does Not ENJOY DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY
Date and number
1926 Nov. 22
From the Chargé in Chile
Decision by the Santiago Court of Appeals, September 24 (text printed), holding that a secretary of the Brazilian Embassy in Santiago was subject to jurisdiction of the Chilean courts in a criminal case, and that he might be arrested and imprisoned for his criminal acts committed in Chilean territory; information that, although the decision remains without practical effect because the secretary was recalled shortly after the case began, the diplomatic corps feels that a dangerous precedent has been set which should not go unchallenged.
1927 Jan. 8
To the Ambassador in Chile
Belief that U. S. Government need not make a special protest against the precedent set by the case; authorization, however, to express concurrence if diplomatic corps decides to make a joint protest against this action as being a violation of international law.
THREE-POWER CONFERENCE AT GENEVA FOR THE LIMITATION OF
NAVAL ARMAMENT, JUNE 20–AUGUST 4, 1927
500.A15 a 1/-: Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Herrick)?
WASHINGTON, February 3, 1927–4 p. m. 24. The Department's telegram No. 25 will transmit to you the text of a memorandum which you are desired to present on Thursday, February 10, to the Government of France. It is also to be presented to the Governments of Great Britain, Italy, and Japan. The Department will also transmit, in its telegram No. 26, the text of a message which President Coolidge proposes addressing to Congress at noon, Eastern Standard Time, on Thursday, February 10. Since the Department will make public the full text immediately after the message has been delivered to Congress, it is important for advance arrangements to be made by you to deliver to the Foreign Office this memorandum either at 4 o'clock or as close to that hour as possible. It is hoped that you will be able to give both this message and the memorandum the widest publicity. Prior to the delivery of the message, however, there should be no communication to any press representative.
500.A15 a 1/a : Telegram
The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in France (Herrick)
WASHINGTON, February 3, 1927–7 p. m. 25. Following is text of memorandum to be handed by you to the French government in accordance with Department's telegraphic instructions, Nos. 24, 26 and 27:
The records of the Conference are printed in Senate Document No. 55, 70th Cong., 1st sess., Records of the Conference for the Limitation of Naval Armament, Held at Geneva, Switzerland, from June 20 to August 4, 1927 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1928).
'The same, mutatis mutandis, to the Embassies in Great Britain (No. 20) and Italy (No. 7). A similar telegram was sent to the Embassy in Japan (No. 11).
See last paragraph for instructions to repeat text of memorandum to Embassies in Great Britain (No. 21) and Italy (No. 8). The same telegram, mutatis mutandis, with exception of last paragraph, was sent to the Embassy in Japan (No. 12).
The American Government has followed with close attention the proceedings of the Preparatory Commission for the Disarmament Conference, and, after the most careful deliberation, has concluded that it can helpfully make certain observations at this time which, it hopes, may contribute materially to the success of that Commission-a success earnestly desired by the Government and people of the United States.
The conviction that the competitive augmentation of national armaments has been one of the principal causes of international suspicion and ill-will, leading to war, is firmly held by the American Government and people. Hence, the American Government has neglected no opportunity to lend its sympathy and support to international efforts to reduce and limit armaments.
The success of the Washington Conference of 1921–22 demonstrated that other Powers were animated with a similar desire to do away with this dangerous source of international discord. The Washington Conference made a beginning, however, and it has been the continued hope of the American Government, since 1922, that the task, undertaken at Washington by the group of Naval Powers could be resumed and completed.
For this reason, the American Government was happy to observe that the efforts looking towards the holding of a general international conference for the limitation of armament, which had been in progress for several years under the auspices of the League of Nations, had reached, in December, 1925, a stage sufficiently advanced, in the opinion of the Council of the League of Nations, to warrant the establishment of the Preparatory Commission, to meet in 1926, to prepare the ground for an international conference at an early date. The American Government, pursuant to its policy of cooperation with all efforts calculated to bring about an actual limitation of armament, accepted the invitation of the Council to be represented on the Preparatory Commission. The American representatives on that Commission have endeavored to play a helpful part in its discussions, and they will continue to be guided by that policy.
The American Government believes that the discussions of the Commission have been most valuable in making clear the views of the various governments as to the problems presented, and in demonstrating the complexity and diversity of the obstacles to be overcome in the preparation and conclusion of a general agreement for the limitation of all armament.
At the same time, these very complexities and difficulties, as brought out in the Preparatory Commission, have clearly pointed out that a final solution for the problem of armament may not be immediately practicable. Indeed, at the latest meeting of the Council of the League of Nations, several distinguished statesmen, leaders in the movement for the limitation of armament, sounded a note of warning against too great optimism of immediate success.
The American Government is most anxious that concrete results in the limitation of armament may be achieved. The discussions of the Preparatory Commission have emphasized the fact that a number of
governments consider that one of the chief present obstacles to
* See Foreign Relations, 1926, vol. 1, pp. 40 ff. ; also, post, pp. 159 ff.
the general reduction and limitation of armaments lies in the interdependence of land, sea, and air armaments, and in the consequent impossibility of reducing or limiting one of these categories without dealing simultaneously with the others. On the other hand, the discussions have demonstrated even more emphatically that, should all effort to bring about the reduction or limitation of armament be conditioned upon the acceptance by all the world of a comprehensive plan covering all classes and types of armament, there would be little, if any, prospect of actual progress towards arms limitation in the near future.
The above difficulties must be frankly recognized. The American Government believes that they can be overcome and that they must be overcome, since the consequences of a failure to overcome them, and to make some definite, if only partial, agreement for the limitation of armament, would constitute a setback to the cause of international peace too great to deserve serious contemplation as a possibility.
Admitting reluctantly that the existing political situations in certain parts of the world may render the problem of universal limitation incapable of immediate solution as a whole, the American Government believes that it is entirely practicable for the nations of the world to proceed at once to the isolation and separate solution of such problems as may appear susceptible of such treatment, meanwhile continuing to give sympathetic consideration and discussion to comprehensive proposals aimed at the simultaneous limitation of land, sea, and air armaments by a general agreement when such an agreement may be warranted by existing world conditions. The American Government believes that the adoption of such a course is the duty of the governments represented on the Preparatory Commission, and that by so doing, they will ensure the achievement by the Commission and by the general conference of concrete, even though perhaps only partial results, thus facilitating progress towards the final solution of the general problem.
The American Government, as its representatives on the Preparatory Commission have repeatedly stated, feels that land and air armaments constitute essentially regional problems to be solved primarily by regional agreements. The American army and air force are at minimum strength. Agreement for land and air limitation in other regions of the world would not be dependent upon the reduction or limitation of American land and air forces. Therefore, the American Government does not feel that it can appropriately offer definite suggestions to other powers in regard to the limitation of these categories of armament.
The problem of the limitation of naval armament, while not regional in character, can be dealt with as a practical matter by measures affecting the navies of a limited group of Powers. This has been clearly established by the success of the Washington Treaty Limiting Naval Armament. The United States, as the initiator of the Washington Conference, and as one of the principal Naval Powers, has a direct interest in this question, and, being both ready and willing to
*Treaty between the United States, the British Empire, France, Italy, and Japan for the limitation of naval armament, signed February 6, 1922, Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. I, p. 247.