500.Al5 Arms Truce/36: Telegram

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

158. Truce proposal discussion continued in Third Committee this afternoon.

Greece, Belgium, Netherlands spoke generally in favor of proposal.

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Japanese representative proposed that the matter be held over for discussion at the opening of the General Disarmament Conference when necessary figures would be available and experts present.

I spoke following Japanese representative and in view of the latter’s proposal I added to my prepared remarks that the value of the truce would be the beneficial effect of its immediate application.

Polish representative mentioned certain difficulties which would make it impossible for his government to accept anything binding before the General Conference, such as possession of larger armaments by neighboring countries, absence of certain countries which had made reservations, et cetera. He thought an attempt to enter into a discussion of the Italian proposal at this time would merely result in a preliminary disarmament conference.

Lord Cecil strongly supported the idea of a truce for two main reasons, (1) it would prevent piling up of armaments and, (2) it would create a better international political atmosphere. He thought a truce should be arrived at as soon as possible and begged Japanese representative to reconsider his attitude. He considered that the best way to take a practical step was for the Committee to draw up a resolution in broad terms to be fitted into the Scandinavian proposal. The resolution if adopted by the Assembly should be sent to all Governments invited to the Disarmament Conference with the request that each Government before November 1st, 1931 should state whether it was prepared to agree to a truce. Cecil thought this would meet the Polish objections since the attitude of all states would then be known.

Debate continues tomorrow with seven more speakers including France on the list.

Wilson