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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

Switzerland,   pp. 565-582 PDF (6.6 MB)

Page 580

  The facts were, he explained confidentially, that the Foreign Office
had been favorably impressed with our text, that they had then dis-
cussed the matter with the Military Department, but had encountered
there a flat refusal to accept any contractual obligation by which
Swiss nationals, born in Switzerland of Swiss parents, could eliminate
their nationality and escape the obligations of military duties. Thus,
said Mr. Bonna, the text in the form in which we submitted it could
not be accepted. He added, however, that he did not see why we
could not agree upon a text similar to the one which the United States
had accepted in respect to Norway.24
  I told Mr. Bonna that I could not be sure that my Government
still desired to ratify treaties in the form in which we had already done
so with Norway, but that it seemed worth while to examine this
proposal; would he, therefore, answer my note of March 8, 1937 (copy
enclosed),25 explain to me why they could not accept our proposition,
and make the suggestion formally which he had just made informally.
Mr. Bonna stated that he would be happy to do so.
  Under date of March 23 the Foreign Office sent a note (copy and
translation enclosed) together with an alnnex,26 being a counter sug-
gestion for a text. Inasmuch as this counter suggestion showed certain
variations from the text of the American treaty with Norway, under
my direction Mr. Bigelow 27 discussed the matter with various mem-
bers of the Swiss Foreign Office. Mr. Bigelow made it entirely clear
that we were not authorized by our Government to enter any agree-
ment, that what he was doing was merely using his best knowledge to
bring about a text which he thought would be as acceptable as possible
to us.
  I append herewith a copy of a text which the Swiss Government
has now proposed.28  This should be considered as an annex to their
note of March 23. This text is a close approximation to the text
of our treaty with Norway, is the result of rather laborious discussions
between the Foreign Office and ourselves, and I entertain the hope
that the Department will find it acceptable.
  Respectfully yours,                            HUGH R. WILON
  24For treaty with Norway signed November 1, 1930, see Foreign Relations,
1930, vol. iII, p. 713.
25 Not printed; it repeated the proposals made to the Swiss pursuant to Depart.-
ment's instruction No. 3399, February 19, 1936.
28Neither printed.
7 Donald F. Bigelow, Second Secretary of Legation.
   Not printed.

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