500.A15 Arms Truce/13: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Wilson)


113. Reference is to your No. 132 of September 16, 5 p.m. I feel that if the League is asking the non-member states to participate in the Third Committee for the purpose of discussing the Grandi proposal, this Government should accept. I reach this conclusion because of our deep and continuing interest in disarmament and because of the fact that now a specific proposal of a new character is to be brought before the Third Committee of the Assembly for discussion.

If you find that we are to be invited please advise at once in order that we may make an appropriate statement here before public announcement is made elsewhere. In the meantime you may make oral use of this information in such manner as you deem advisable.

I am going to inform the French Chargé that we have received a suggestion of joining the Third Committee for the purpose of this discussion; that we would be inclined to do so if invited and of our generally favorable attitude toward a holiday proposal without going into the details of Grandi’s proposal or of our own situation.

The naval holiday proposal will probably involve a larger sacrifice for the United States in large vessels because our cruiser program is behind that of other powers. We would not be deterred from proposing such a sacrifice to the American people because we are most anxious to proceed in harmony with Signor Grandi’s objectives. However, there is a minor difficulty which you must state clearly. We advertised for bids for certain destroyers before the arms truce discussions arose. The bids have been received and are in the process of being let. Furthermore we have allotted the construction of these destroyers over different sections of the United States as an intrinsic part of the unemployment program. We shall have to find some way of taking care of this situation without disrupting this particular program. Possibly you may have some recommendation arising out of your knowledge of what other countries have in mind.

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I see no reason why this Government could not regard the three main points of the Grandi proposal as an acceptable basis for discussion. Of course, among other things we must be informed as to their feasibility in the light of certain details such as the date when they become effective, the universality of their acceptance, and other questions.

Henry L. Stimson