Page images
PDF
EPUB

French made interesting suggestion that import restrictions should be considered separately from export restrictions. This might furnish a solution of many difficulties since it would give opportunity for separate consideration of raw material problems and for maintaining concise phraseology on import restrictions. Unless I am instructed to the contrary I propose to offer no objection to such procedure since it may offer possibility of agreement which looks doubtful at present.

Summarizing, today's debate much more important than preceding and shows wide divergence of views as to what form convention should take. Can make no predictions at the present time.

WILSON

560.M2/46 : Telegram

The Chief of the American Delegation (Wilson) to the Secretary

of State

GENEVA [, October 20, 1927—10 p. m.]

[Received October 21—1:36 a. m.] 12. My 11, October 20, 10 p. m. I spoke extemporaneously approximately to the following effect in the important sections of the speech. Relative to article 7, I followed instructions closely.

“With regard to article 5 French delegate Serruys was inspired to make the very wise suggestion that we could have the benefit of this debate and the benefit of other suggestions made by other delegations before putting in certain of our amendments. We have been working on an amendment which we have not yet phrased to our satisfaction but which we expect to submit. With reference to the words 'to protect the vital economic and financial interests' we feel that this clause is so broad that its effect might nullify the purpose of this convention. We fear that under the guise of vital interests' so many exceptions and prohibitions and limitations can be imposed that the convention may prove of little value if finished in this form. What we are therefore seeking is some phraseology which can perhaps be substituted therefor and we suggest 'in case of war or national calamity'. I do not feel that this constitutes such a change in article 5 as to merit the reproach that this is in effect something quite different from what was anticipated.

With respect to article 4 we feel that we are undertaking a very solemn obligation when we sign this document and that therefore we must know exactly to the last iota the scope and extent of the obligations which we undertake before affixing our signature thereto. "We believe that the exchange must be reduced to the necessary minimum but we lay as much emphasis upon the word necessary as we do upon the word minimum. Despite opinions expressed to the effect that article 2 or other articles may cover any necessary exceptions we are not perfectly certain that an international court which after all is the last resort would agree with the opinions expressed. We therefore want to know before rather than after the fact exactly where we stand. I want to emphasize in connection

with article 4 simply that we must know just where we stand and we must therefore insist or rather urge the acceptance of such a resolution as we submitted regarding standards. Also we must adhere to [and] urge the acceptance of a further resolution proposed by the British delegation regarding prison-made goods which falls within another category of our laws. In so doing, we do not feel that we are loosening the convention but rather making it more exact and more obligatory than it is in its present form.

With regard to Sir Sidney Chapman's statement that he felt that the path to follow was to draw up the kind of document that would induce a maximum number of states to adhere thereto, of course we also want to see the maximum number of states adhere to that document. We feel however that there is a certain danger that the Conference may be led in its desire to gather all the states into such fold to sanction international practices which we are brought together to abolish."

WILSON

560.M2/45 : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chief of the American Delegation

(Wilson)

[Paraphrase]

WASHINGTON, October 21, 1921–6 p. m. 8. Your No. 11, October 20, 10 a. m. Department authorizes you at your discretion to associate yourself with the French suggestion that import and export restrictions be considered separately, and affirmatively urge its adoption. It is Department's view that if suggestion be adopted it might react favorably in solving raw materials and other problems, not in present discussions alone but in future international conferences. Your attention is invited to Department's No. 1, October 17, 5 p. m., paragraph No. 4.

Department approves your action reported your No. 12, October 20, 10 p. m.

KELLOGG

560.M2/47 : Telegram

The Chief of the American Delegation (Wilson) to the Secretary

of State

GENEVA, October 21, 1927–9 p. m.

[Received 10:15 p. m.] 13. Group 2, second meeting. Many thanks for prompt instructions in your October 20, 8 p. m., on basis of which I presented our point of view regarding French proposal reported in my 8, October 19, 11 p. m. I was unable to obtain in entirety text desired but believe that a satisfactory compromise was reached. It reads as follows:

"In the case of any prohibitions or restrictions which may be applied within the limits set by the present agreement, the contracting states shall in the matter of licenses comply strictly with the following provisions (first follows (a), (b), (c), and (d) referred to on page 3, last paragraph your 65, and a further paragraph reading as follows:) “As regards the allocation of quotas, the contracting states, without laying down any rule as to the method to be adopted, consider that an equitable distribution of these quotas is an essential condition of an equitable treatment of commerce between states."

I explained that we were primarily concerned with the obligatory character of the contractual obligations and that therefore I preferred that this should be incorporated in the body of the convention. However, it was pointed out, and I think correctly, that the last paragraph is not of such a nature as normally to be included in the body or text of a convention. The committee agreed, however, to incorporate in the protocol the following words: “The present protocol will have the same force, effect and duration as the convention of today's date, of which it is to be considered as an integral part.”

I am convinced that the Department will be preoccupied rather with the binding force of this obligation than with its position in the text and since we are satisfied on the first point I acquiesced in this arrangement.

WILSON

560.M2/48: Telegram

The Chief of the American Delegation (Wilson) to the Secretary

of State

GENEVA, October 21, 1927–10 p. m.

[Received October 21–9:50 p. m.] 14. Group 2, article 11. In accordance with the intention which I reported in my 5, October 19, 2 p. m., I approached the President of the Conference and explained to him our difficulties regarding this article with a view to achieving its elimination if possible. Colijn stated that he would use every endeavor to find a satisfactory formula but that he considered, and he knew that the Conference agreed with him, that some obligation to report was necessary because of the recalcitrant states in which they could not place confidence. He considered this an essential portion of the convention.

In this afternoon's session fortunately the Egyptian delegate, also representing a nonmember state, suggested an alternative phraseology for this article, which reads as follows:

“In order to indicate the progress which has been made in regard to the abolition of import and export prohibitions or restrictions, the

contracting states will within 12 months of the coming into force in each case of the present agreement communicate to each other through the intermediary of the Secretary General on the subject.”

This is based on article 30, chapter 7, of the Second Opium Convention.18 I then stated that I welcomed this initiative on the part of the Egyptian representative since I also had been troubled about this article; that I would at once report this suggestion to my Government.

From my conversation with Colijn, I am convinced that the convention will carry some article of this nature and after careful consideration and study of similar documents the text quoted above seems as satisfactory from our point of view as can be secured. Short of signing with a reservation excepting this article, which is always to be regretted, I feel that we have no alternative but to support it. Please instruct.

WILSON

560.M2/49 : Telegram

The Chief of the American Delegation (Wilson) to the Secretary

of State

GENEVA, October 21, 1927-11 p. m.

[Received 11:05 p. m.] 15. The rapporteurs of group 1 reported out this afternoon the following draft on article 1:19

“Subject to the exceptions provided for in the following articles of [and?] the protocol, each of the high contracting parties undertakes, within a period of six months from the date on which the present convention enters into force as far as it is concerned, to abolish all import and export prohibitions and restrictions, and not thereafter to impose any such prohibitions or restrictions; during this period the high contracting parties shall adopt all practicable measures to reduce existing prohibitions and restrictions to a minimum, and shall refrain from imposing any fresh ones.

The high contracting parties further undertake to adopt all possible necessary measures to see that the provisions of the present agreement are strictly observed by a central or local government, and that no regulation is issued in contravention thereof.

The provisions of the present convention refer to all prohibitions and restrictions on the importation into any of the territories of the high contracting parties of goods produced or manufactured in the territories of any other high contracting party, and the

18 Signed at Geneva, Feb. 19, 1925; League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. LXXXI, pp. 317, 345.

19 For certain variations from the draft text of article 1 as here printed, see the text reported to the Conference by committee A (group 1), Proceedings of the Conference, p. 161.

exportation of goods from any of the territories of the said parties to the territories of any other high contracting party. The territories here referred to are those to which the convention applies in virtue of article (blank)."

WILSON

560.M2/50: Telegram

The Chief of the American Delegation (Wilson) to the Secretary

of State

GENEVA, October 21, 1927—18 p. m.

[Received October 21–10:45 p. m.] 16. Group 1, Article 6. The rapporteurs maintained the standpoint that in view of altered drafting of article 1 the necessity for article 6 no longer existed. The French delegation made suggestion that the question of the rights of retaliation for acts foreseen in article 6 should be referred to the group which handled article 7 on arbitration; since on the nature of the arbitration obligation depended the phraseology relative to rights of retaliation I made a statement based on your 65 20 pointing out in addition the intent of the Economic Committee as outlined on page 24 of C.I.A.P.1.

The rapporteurs were of the opinion that article 6 was intended to apply only to the relation between contracting and noncontracting states and to provide a method of retaliation against violators of the convention. It was evident that the Economic Committee had had no intention in drafting this article of authorizing tariff reprisals such as are contemplated in section 317.

The chairman requested me not to insist further at the present time on this matter, expressly stating that each state of course retained the right to put in further amendments and proposals to protect their necessary interests. I had no recourse but to acquiesce.

I subsequently had conversation with two members of the Economic Committee separately. Both of them insisted on the following thesis—that the preoccupation of the American delegation relative to its rights to enforce tariff measures was unfounded; that nothing in this convention would or could be construed as affecting the right of any contracting state in this respect, either in reference to noncontracting or contracting states; that since article 6 as well as the whole convention did not envisage tariff matters but merely those prohibitions and restrictions treated under this convention, the importance of article 6 disappeared under the revised form of article 1.

Serruys, the French representative, for his part stated that if we were prepared to suggest any obligation relative to tariffs he was

20 Ante, p. 254.

« PreviousContinue »