« PreviousContinue »
to the question of international control and supervision, the substance of which was as follows:
any form of supervision or control of armaments by an international body is more calculated to foment ill-will and suspicion between states than to create a spirit of international confidence, which should be one of the more important results of any agreement for the reduction and limitation of armaments. The execution of the provisions of any convention for the reduction and limitation of armaments must depend upon the good faith of nations scrupulously to carry out their treaty obligations.'
With reference to a proposal for commissions of inquiry, et cetera, submitted by certain delegations, generally similar to the proposals of the Joint Commission,—the six delegations above mentioned submitted the following observations:
“(1) The work of the proposed Commission would be complicated in the highest degree. It should not only be regarded from a technical point of view (military and economic), but should also be regarded from a political point of view, since, as Sub-Committee A has already shown, the primary criterion as to whether the armaments of a country are designed for defensive or offensive purposes lies in an appreciation of the political intentions of the Government interested. The Commission in question would, therefore, be called upon carefully to take account not only of military and economic considerations, but also political considerations. In other words, the Commission should be composed of quite exceptional representatives of each country, and, if it were to do its work effectively, it should in fact be a kind of International General Staff.
"It would be extremely difficult for such a body to carry out its duties. It would be inevitably driven to encroach on the legitimate functions of these bodies which, in all countries, are entrusted by Governments with the duty of advising on the measures to be taken to ensure the safety of the State and to place it in a position to fulfil its international obligations.
"It has been contended by others that the above use of the term ‘International General Staff can not really be applied to a Commission of this sort; it was further contended that the powers of such a Commission would not differ appreciably from those of many existing commissions. The six Delegations submitting this declaration do not share this opinion; they know of no body whose duties would be comparable to the duties of the Commission proposed.
"(2) It would be very difficult for the proposed Commission to arrive at unanimous reports. More often there would be two or more divergent opinions, the choice between which would have to be taken by appeal to a higher body. In any case, in order to ensure the supervision of the execution by a State of its obligations, the Commission would require to investigate further and to complete its information and to invite that State to furnish observations and explanations. This would require considerable time, during which the situation under examination might change.
“(3) If this organization were composed of all the States signatories of the Convention, it would be unduly numerous and its procedure would, therefore, be very slow. If, on the other hand, it were composed of some only among these States, the difficulty would arise of settling which of the countries adhering to the Convention should be represented on it.
"It has been contended by others that it cannot be claimed that the creation of supervisory organizations is impossible on material or practical grounds since many precedents already exist. It is further contended that a precedent could be found in the Opium Convention and in the Statute of the International Labour Organization. The six Delegations submitting this declaration wish to point out that there is no analogy between Opium and Disarmament, and as to the extension of the Statute of the International Labour Office to Disarmament, this could not be invoked as a precedent; on the contrary, Sub-committee A had been asked to examine whether the application of that statute was possible or not.
“(4) It is very doubtful whether the method of procedure contemplated for the proposed Commission can be in practice applied. An example will best explain the position. The commission receives reports which may possibly lead to the suggestion that in country X there are certain indications which might be considered to show that that country is not fulfilling its formal obligations, or to show the growth of aggressive intentions against country Y. What will be the position of the proposed Commission? They will find themselves obliged at once to study questions which have not only a technical, but a political aspect, and it is safe to assume that in many cases the members of the Commission will find themselves influenced by divergent political considerations. If the case is quite clear, these political considerations may be disregarded; but if, as is more probable, the position is a complicated one, then it is safe to say that these political considerations are bound to hamper an impartial inquiry. In such a situation it is to be feared that divergent opinions will come to light and the only way of removing them would be by verifying the situation on the spot. This means that a proper application of the proposed method would frequently lead to inquiries on the spot. The Delegations subscribing to this declaration consider that most unfortunate results both political and technical would follow from these inqạiries. It is impossible to disregard the possibility that, in certain circumstances, one country might bring a charge against another in order to obtain, unjustifiably, information about the secret defensive organizations of the country accused. Moreover, the Delegations of the British Empire, Chile, the United States of America, Italy and Japan, are entirely unable to accept for their own Governments anything in the nature of itinerant inquisitorial Commissions.
"It was contended during the deliberations on this question that the ‘unfortunate results both political and technical' mentioned above, which the six delegations submitting this declaration claim would follow from these inquiries, would in fact not exist since 'inquiries of this kind have already been carried out to the general satisfaction'. Since, obviously, no such inquiries of this nature have ever been carried out in the past, it is difficult to understand how such a contention can be held.
“(5) Further, it may be pointed out that if, in fact, it were decided to limit the task of the proposed Commission to examining, comparing and drawing conclusions from the variety of information at their disposal, the reports drawn up by the Commission would give rise to further objections.
"From the technical point of view, any conclusions at which the Commission might arrive 'without inquiry and direct control likely to affect the secret military preparations of the different States' would be liable to be completely erroneous and misleading. The result might be that technical Commission would be writing
reports impugning the good faith of nations without having at their disposal the essential facts such as could only be gleaned from a first-hand study of the situation on the spot. And, in general, it is inconceivable that Governments can view, without irritation, the requests for explanations which would be the result of insufficient data and which might, therefore, be regarded, according to the different circumstances of the case, as vexatious, disingenuous, or actually provocative.
“(6). The work so far carried out by Sub-committee A proves in the opinions of the Delegations subscribing to the present declaration, that the only basis on which it is possible to hope for satisfactory and permanent results is the creation of an atmosphere of good faith. It cannot be denied psychologically and from all experience that the introduction of restrictions upon the sovereign rights of each State, tends to militate against the creation of this atmosphere. It is common knowledge that in every country restrictions of all kinds are necessary, but these restrictions have only been imposed as the result of experience and by the nation itself in the exercise of its sovereign powers. The Delegations of the British Empire, Chile, the United States, Italy, Japan and Sweden consider that restrictions of this nature should not be contemplated in international engagements except where absolutely necessary and with the fullest consent and approval of the nations concerned.
“With regard to this entire declaration, it developed during the proceedings on this question in ‘Subcommittee A that others contended that the authors of this declaration in setting forth their observations had stressed political and psychological arguments and omitted technical arguments. The signatories of this declaration are of the opinion, on the contrary, that they have submitted both technical and political arguments; but in any case it will be for the Preparatory Commission to make this distinction if it sees fit."
In regard to the second part of the Joint Commission's answer to this question, relative to the insertion in a convention for the prohi. bition of certain forms of warfare of provisions similar to those in the Charter of the International Labor Office, it is observed that the recommendations of the Joint Commission confine themselves to the typical case of chemical warfare. It is further observed that these recommendations are conditioned upon agreements among the national industries concerned. The American Government does not consider that such agreements are in any way germane to the question of the limitation of national armaments. It is well known that the great
majority of the chemical products which may be utilized for military purposes in time of war are essential to the daily peace-time life of industry.
This Section of the Report relates to questions concerning the convertibility of chemical factories for the manufacture of poison gas, and means for hindering their conversion to such use. Proposals to that end are made by the Joint Commission.
The views of the American Government as to the appropriateness of the conclusion of industrial agreements among chemical industries have been stated above. With respect to the proposal that each state undertake to establish as a crime at common law any exercising or training by military persons or civilians in the use of poisons or bacteria, and, in particular, the exercising or training of air squadrons, it is the opinion of the American Government that such a proposal is impracticable. In this connection, it may be pointed out that no nation could safely agree to refrain from preparations for defense against attack by chemical warfare regardless of the existence of international conventions prohibiting the use of such warfare. In order to prepare against attack by such warfare, training in chemical matters is essential. To forbid absolutely training in the use of poisons and bacteria would, in the broadest meaning, put an end to chemical and medical research. Such a measure would be impossible to administer.
This Section deals with the possibility of using military expenditure as a criterion for the comparison of armaments, and of effecting arms limitation by a limitation of such expenditure.
The conclusions reached by the Joint Commission relative to the usefulness of taking into consideration military expenditures in the comparison or limitation of armaments serve to emphasize the point of view which has been expressed by the American Delegation on the Preparatory Commission, namely, that military expenditure constitutes neither a real measure for the comparison of armaments nor an equitable basis for the limitation of armaments. The Joint Commission's report points out that certain groups of countries having similar military organizations, similar wage levels and standards of living, might profitably use expenditure as a standard for the comparison of their armaments. The American Government does not doubt that it might be possible for certain countries to employ such a method of comparison profitably as among themselves.
Without commenting in detail upon the conclusions reached by the Joint Commission on this subject, the American Government
believes that the true relation of budgetary expenditure to the comparison of limitation of armaments is accurately stated in the declaration made by the Delegations of Germany, the Argentine, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United States at the meeting of SubCommittee A of the Preparatory Commission as follows:
“The Delegations of Germany, the Argentine, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden and the United States of America are of the opinion that while the reduction in national expenditure on armaments is highly desirable as one of the results to be attained by the reduction and limitation of armaments, this result would automatically follow from any
effective reduction and limitation of armaments. “They are strongly of the opinion that monetary expenditure for the creation and maintenance of armaments does not afford either a true measure of armaments or a fair basis for limitation of armaments. They hold this opinion for the following reasons:
"(1) The direct and indirect costs of personnel under the conscriptive and voluntary systems are so variable in different countries and in their overseas possessions and are influenced by so many different factors that these costs are practically impossible of simple and equitable conversion to a common basis.
"(2) Due also to differences in rates of pay, production costs, maintenance charges, costs of labour and material, varying standards of living, variations in the rates of exchange and lack of uniformity in the preparation of budgets, any attempt to apply this method of limitation would be unfair and inequitable.
“(3) The method of limitation of expenditure is an indirect method of obtaining a limitation or reduction of armaments. All methods heretofore considered have been positive and direct; the application of an indirect method seems highly undesirable as a means of accomplishing what might better be accomplished by direct methods.
"The above mentioned Delegations maintain their opinion that from a technical standpoint armaments can be effectively limited by direct methods.
"(4) While comparison without limitation is possible, obviously there can be no equitable limitation of expenditure by international agreement without a comparison. In other words, comparison of expenditure is a pre-requisite to equitable limitation of expenditure. Therefore, since comparison cannot be made between budgets of different countries, as has been agreed upon in the study of standards of comparison, it will be impracticable to use a budgetary method in any formula for the reduction and limitation of armaments.
“For these reasons the above Delegations are firmly of the opinion that the method of limitation of armaments based upon the limitation of budgetary expenditure is impracticable, inequitable, and hence inadmissible.
"Since the mandate of the Preparatory Commission calls for a reply to this question only in case the limitation of expenditure is considered practicable, and since in the opinion of the above-mentioned Delegations the method seems inapplicable, it would appear that the reply to the question submitted should be, that the limitation of expenditure is not a practicable method for the limitation or reduction of armaments."