Colonial Policy and International Control: The American Philippines and Multilateral Drug Treaties, 1909-1931

di Eva Ward

The United States took control of the Philippines after the Spanish-American War in 1898, ended the Spanish monopoly system on opium and in 1905 prohibited all recreational sale and use of opiates and cocaine. The subsequent failure of colonial authorities to contain the flow of illicit narcotics into the Philippines resulted in the US successfully reframing international drug control as an international responsibility rather than a quixotic imperial undertaking. Through multilateral summits, the US sought to convince foreign producer and manufacturing states of the need to restrict exports of drugs to countries permitting their entry and to work towards restricting their use to medical purposes. This led to the agreements of the 1909 Shanghai Commission and the 1912 Hague Convention prior to the outbreak of war, putting these aims into practice and beginning the process of establishing an international drugs regulatory regime. The outcome of these summits represented a victory for the transnational movement against the opium trade, largely driven by Protestant missionary influences. Following the Treaty of Versailles in 1918, Germany and the former Ottoman Empire were compelled to adhere to these agreements, expanding the scope of the regime’s influence. The drugs regulatory regime was solidified with the 1925 Geneva Convention. Despite their previous advocacy, American appetite for international drugs diplomacy in connection to the Philippines had waned by the beginning of the 1930s. The US ratified the Geneva Convention the same year but agreed to attend the Bangkok Convention of 1931 only in an advisory capacity and specified afterwards they had not signed the agreement. Begun in order to enforce colonial policy, American interwar efforts were characterized by a later shift towards a focus on drug control in the metropole. This paper charts the growth and decline of American colonial drug diplomacy efforts through examining the role of the Philippines in the multilateral summits on drug control and interim negotiations during the first half of the twentieth century.



The 1905 Act to amend the tariff laws of the Philippines, and for other purposes was the first colonial ban on non-medicinal opium sale and use and thus an early victory of the transnational anti-opium movement. The US claimed that restricting opium access to medicinal and scientific use in the Philippines demonstrated their more ‘enlightened’ form of colonialism, in comparison to legal recreational opium sales in European colonies in Asia. However, American colonial officials in the Philippines soon realized that enforcing the ban without international cooperation would be impossible. Anti-opium trade campaigners, particularly Episcopalian Missionary Bishop of the Philippines Charles Brent, subsequently pressured the American government to arrange multilateral summits for agreeing on international systems of drug control. The ongoing difficulty of enforcing prohibition in the Philippines led to the US promoting an increasingly complicated international drugs regulatory regime, developed through The Hague Convention of 1912, the Geneva Conventions of 1924-1925 and the Geneva and Bangkok Conventions of 1931. However, the United States frequently clashed with other colonial powers regarding the practicability of prohibition. Moreover, the international structures the US had a hand in creating also hindered its ability to act unilaterally against the illicit narcotics trade. By the last postwar multilateral summits in 1931, the US had redirected its drugs diplomacy focus from the Asian colonial context of its origins to the domestic sphere, and refused to sign the Bangkok Convention. The colonial legacy lingered, however, with the newly independent Philippines adhering to postwar drug control agreements. This chapter examines American involvement in these early multilateral summits and resultant agreements as an instrument of international order in order to enforce colonial drug policies during the first three decades of the 20th century, and explores the eventual shift towards the metropole rather than the colonial world as a focus of American international drugs diplomacy.


Initial overtures, 1906-1908

International diplomacy in support of prohibition began soon after the ban’s passage in 1905. Having determined the future of colonial opium regulation, the US promptly began lobbying other colonial powers in the region. In a letter dated 17 October 1906, Sir Edward Grey in the British Foreign Office wrote to Sir Mortimer Durand in the India Office on the subject of recent overtures by the US Ambassador. The American ambassador had told Sir Edward that “his Government are much concerned with regard to the question of opium, which has been raised in connection with the Philippines.”[1] The ambassador had been directed to inquire regarding the British view of a Joint Commission or Joint Investigation of “the Opium Trade and the Opium Habit in the Far East,” to be carried out by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Germany, China, and Japan.[2] The purpose of this exercise would be to “come to a decision as to whether the consequences of the opium trade and opium habit were not such that civilized Powers should do what they could to put a stop to them.”[3] Grey refused to answer until consulting with the India Office on the subject, but was privately open to the possibility of considering the American proposal, subject to it being “clearly proved that the result would be to diminish the opium habit.”[4] If, on the other hand, this undertaking resulted in the Chinese simply growing more opium themselves following a decrease in Indian opium production, the British sacrifice would be futile and financially damaging. This tension between the possibility of reducing the ‘opium habit’ and the financial risk it entailed, as expressed by Grey, would exhibit itself again in future British involvement in international diplomacy regarding the ‘opium question.’

The aftermath of the ban in the Philippines going into effect, particularly rampant smuggling, definitively demonstrated that international cooperation from regional opium producers and exporters was crucial for prohibition to be implemented successfully. Prohibition advocates framed the need for international cooperation as the continuance of the purported nobility of American policy towards opium in Asia. Brent wrote to President Roosevelt that “from the earliest days of our diplomatic relations with the East the course of the United States of America has been so manifestly high in relation to the traffic in opium that it seems to me almost our duty… to promote some movement that would gather in its embrace representatives from all countries where the traffic in and use of opium is a matter of moment.”[5]  The overtures of American diplomats eventually bore fruit, as an international commission to be held in Shanghai from 1 February to 26 February 1909 was arranged. In addition to the United States, delegations from Austria-Hungary, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, and Siam also attended. Brent was joined in Shanghai by Dr. Hamilton Wright, an equally fervent proponent of suppressing the opium trade and eradicating the ‘opium habit’, and Charles Tenney, the Chinese Secretary to the American Legation in Peking [Beijing].

The International Opium Commission of Shanghai and The Hague Convention, 1909-1912

Despite the primary topic of discussion during the Commission being the opium trade in the Chinese context, the Philippines also featured significantly in the deliberations in Shanghai. The US delegation noted in detail the difficulties the authorities had encountered in attempting to enforce prohibition in the Philippines. The primary obstacle was, of course, smuggling. The predominant smuggling routes were from Hong Kong, Singapore and BN Borneo to various ports throughout the islands. From the American point of view, “the ease with which opium is smuggled makes it impossible to cut off the supply without international cooperation.”[6] Suppressing the opium trade was thus neatly framed as an international responsibility necessitating action on the part of foreign governments, rather than its actual legal status of a quixotic crusade undertaken by the American government in the Philippines.

The 1909 Shanghai Commission resulted in a series of resolutions calling for gradual suppression of the opium trade. This effectively represented a compromise between the financial interests of producer states like Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and their empires and the demands of the US and China for prohibition to be put into effect as soon as possible. The most significant resolution, particularly for the purposes of the American government in the Philippines, was the agreement that export of narcotics should be limited to countries that legally allowed their consumption. The Americans reasoned that if this could be enforced, then the shipments of narcotics from Hong Kong, the Straits Settlements and Borneo that were subsequently smuggled into the Philippines would be depleted, lightening the burden of the customs officials. This resolution also demonstrated the beginning of the longstanding American ideological commitment to controlling supply as a means of suppressing the trade.

However, these resolutions were not legally binding, limiting their practical impact in preventing illicit trafficking. The prevalence of smuggling was soon reported in international media.  The Barrier Miner in New South Wales, Australia, quoted a customs official in the southern Philippines, identified only as J. Evans, as stating: “We have to cover the territory from Cebu to Borneo…Sandakan is the headquarters of the trade but Hong Kong sends out a great deal of contraband opium…In Cebu and Manila the work of the revenue officers is made up a great deal of breaking into Chinese establishments, of smashing down barricaded doors. We have had many fights. The natives baulk the work in every possible way, and it is far from pleasant.”[7] The ongoing difficulties with smuggling seemingly vindicated the US delegation to Shanghai’s previous insistence that only assistance from other countries could effectively reduce the clandestine trade in opium. However, given the nature of the event as an International Commission rather than convention or conference, the agreement reached was not binding for the participants. Hamilton Wright’s report on the proceedings of the Shanghai Commission was delivered to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in February 1910. By this time, plans had already been drawn up for another session of international diplomacy regarding the opium trade. Wright stated that “in consideration of its international relations and duties this Government is called upon to proceed with the work which it has initiated, and to support and pursue the project of a conference which shall effectuate as fully as possible by international agreement the recommendations of the Shanghai commission. The interests of the Government of the United States in and its obligations to the Philippine Islands and their inhabitants forcibly emphasize this duty.”[8] Moreover, “as respects both the United States and the Philippine Islands it is most important to obtain, if possible, an international agreement preventing or restricting the shipment of opium from ports of export to countries prohibiting its importation.”[9]

Brent personally took an active role in lobbying for this agreement, and used his connections in Great Britain to secure a meeting in July 1910 with Prime Minister H.H. Asquith and other officials. The New York Times described the British as “not unwilling to go into another conference.”[10] However, “the Indian Government for economic reasons is not prepared to go as far as the reformers desire in the matter of increasing the reduction of the production of opium.”[11] Despite the British reluctance to forgo a major source of colonial revenue, American efforts were successful enough that by January 1911 congressional hearings were held on the subject of allocating funding for US participation in the next round of international diplomacy.[12]

Finally, the New York Times reported in December of 1911 from The Hague that “twelve nations will be represented at the International Opium Conference, which meets here tomorrow.”[13] The second round of international diplomacy on drug policy would take the form of a Convention, signifying a binding agreement for the signatories. Despite agreement from the other nations to participate, the timing of the Convention- over two years after invitations had been sent out to the countries that had participated in the first Commission in Shanghai- seemed to demonstrate to the US delegation the lack of enthusiasm on the part of many of the other nations in attendance, most notably Great Britain. Sir Edward Grey, in his capacity as the British Foreign Secretary, had despite Brent’s best efforts “advocated a preliminary commission of experts to inquire into the facts before delegates with full powers were appointed to an International Commission.”[14] The Americans viewed this as a delaying tactic by the British and believed subsequent British “discussion on the necessity of a thorough consideration of the use of morphine and cocaine” during the Convention to be an attempt to divert attention from the trade in opium.[15] By the second decade of the twentieth century, neither of these substances were unknown in the Philippines, given the proximity to manufacturing sites in the Dutch East Indies.[16] Nonetheless, the US focus during the proceedings remained predominantly on opium.

Similarly to the 1909 Commission, the Philippines featured prominently in the US argument for the essential role of international cooperation in suppressing the opium trade. Brent once again presided, and submitted another report, nearly identical to that of 1909, on the state of the enforcement of the opiates ban in the Philippines. Manila, Cebu and the southern Philippines in particular continued to vex American opponents of the opium trade. Brent noted the lackluster state of affairs regarding attempts within the Philippines to combat smuggling, stating that “neither sufficient money nor men are provided for the vigorous enforcement of the law. The Filipino officials afford at best only passive aid. The customs officers and the internal revenue agents, who are Americans, are meeting the situation with moderate effectiveness and hopefulness.”[17] Consequently, Brent cited the previous commission’s precedent, in that “at Shanghai the difficulties of the Philippine government were urged upon the commission as a whole in favor of a resolution which called upon opium-producing countries to prevent at ports of departure the shipment of opium to countries which prohibit its entry.”[18] As a result, if narcotics smuggling were to be restrained, it “should be conventionalized in the international conference that has been called by our Government to finally deal with the production and international traffic in opium and its products.”[19]

By the end of the deliberations in The Hague, the US had managed to secure an agreement to this end.  On 23 January 1912, the International Opium Convention was signed by delegates from China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, Siam, and Great Britain. The Convention not only restricted the exports of opium and other drugs to countries permitting their consumption, but also obligated the signatories to regulate domestic consumption within their territory and work towards restricting it to medicinal use. The Convention stated “The contracting Powers shall use their best endeavours to control, or to cause to be controlled, all persons manufacturing, importing, selling, distributing, and exporting opium, morphine, cocaine, and their respective salts, as well as the buildings in which these persons carry on such an industry or trade.”[20] This agreement was the fruition of years of work by anti-opium activists. Despite being the first binding international agreement regarding drug control, The Hague Convention nonetheless ushered in a new era of international clashes over the nature and implementation of its provisions.

The Hague and Harrison’s administration, 1912-1921

The Philippines were in close proximity to British as well as Dutch colonies and American colonial officials expressed much greater concern over the significance of drug trafficking from the colony of British North Borneo to the southern Philippine provinces of Mindanao and Sulu, which accounted for a large part of the illicit opium traffic in the Islands. The report of the provincial governor of Mindanao and Sulu for 1916 noted that the “largest number of violations of the opium law were recorded in Sulu on account of the proximity thereof to Sandakan and North Borneo points.”[21] Philippines Governor-General Francis Harrison claimed that in regard to preventing illicit trafficking that the American colonial state “would be fairly successful in that endeavor were it not for the British North Borneo Government Opium Monopoly in Sandakan.”[22] This served a dual purpose of maintaining the mythos of American colonial exceptionalism regarding their colonized population and drug regulations as well as conveniently providing a foreign scapegoat for the ongoing difficulties enforcing prohibition which the US colonial state in the Philippine experienced.

British acceptance of the opium trade in North Borneo is understandable in light of revenue statistics from 1920. 70% of the colony’s total revenue for that year came from Customs and Excise, to which opium sales contributed a significant amount.[23] Harrison claimed that much of this found its way into American-controlled Mindanao and Sulu, and that during the preceding year “about six million pesos’ worth of opium, Sandakan price, was sold for smuggling into the Philippines.”[24] By 1920, Harrison asserted “in British North Borneo the opium trade has become a positive scandal…two successive English chief justices of that colony were said to have resigned because of the duplicity with which the officials there were conducting the opium traffic.”[25] Harrison complained to his superiors in Washington, which resulted in the US ambassador to Great Britain, John W. Davis, lodging a protest in Whitehall, to no avail.

Harrison complained to his superiors in Washington, asking them to “invoke the good offices of the Government of Great Britain to the end that the Government of British North Borneo should show some respect for our laws and some consideration for our institutions and people.”[26] This resulted in the US ambassador to Great Britain, John W. Davis, lodging a protest in Whitehall, to no avail. The establishment of the League of Nations hindered the ability of the US to act unilaterally regarding international action on drugs diplomacy in the manner they had previously enjoyed. When the overtures of Ambassador Davis failed to produce results, Harrison approached President Woodrow Wilson about organizing another international convention on the opium trade but was told that this was now a “matter reserved for the League of Nations.”[27] Given Wilson’s support for the League of Nations, he was presumably hesitant to take action that might be seen to undermine the League’s prerogative on issues of narcotics trafficking.[28] This had the effect of safeguarding the League’s standing but also blunting Harrison’s attempts to pressure British North Borneo into cooperation regarding smuggling between their territory and the Philippines. The early 1920s thus marked a shift from international drug diplomacy largely spearheaded by an American agenda rooted in colonial policy to a more genuinely multilateral approach through the League of Nations.

The Geneva Convention, 1924-1925

However, by the mid-1920s, The Hague Convention agreement and the League of Nations had failed to meaningfully reduce the available opium supply and curb illicit trafficking. As a result, further international diplomacy on drugs regulations was deemed necessary by the signatories to previous agreements. The 1924 congressional hearings on funding for the US delegation to Geneva revealed the ongoing significance of the Philippines to the vision of the United States for an international drugs regulatory regime, and moreover, how the US viewed their own role in its development. Congressional proceedings reiterated that continued international cooperation was necessary if prohibition was to be effective. In short, “unless the nations stand together it is virtually impossible for any people to be free from the opium addiction.”[29] The overall significance of the Philippines to the US drug control efforts was summarized as: “There can be no doubt that the wider interest of the United States in the international opium problem was one of the results of the occupation of the Philippines.”[30]

Despite these sentiments in favor of international cooperation, American involvement in the Geneva Convention proceedings in 1924 and 1925 was not characterized by a willingness to compromise. The ideological commitment of the US to immediate supply control within ten years put them at odds with producer states who favored an approach of gradual limitation. European imperial producer states sought to broaden the focus of the convention from opium to pharmaceuticals such as cocaine and morphine. Illicit trafficking of these substances was also a matter of concern for customs officials in the Philippines. Nonetheless, the US delegation eventually walked out. The New York Times claimed that “the fumes of opium had permeated so deeply into the physiological habits of the East, and the business and political habits of European Colonial offices, that the program offered by the United States was regarded as impossibly idealistic.”[31]

More clashes on an international stage followed after the submission of the 1926 report from the United States to the League of Nations Advisory Committee on the Traffic in Opium. This was met with opposition from other Committee members, in particular the report’s allegation that “the situation in the Philippine Islands, even under the most pessimistic view, will compare most favorably with a like situation in any other island possession in Southern or South-Eastern Asia.”[32] The representative from the Netherlands, W.G. van Wettum, stated bluntly in April 1928 that he “did not understand on what basis this opinion had been founded.”[33] John Caldwell, the US representative at the Committee meeting, conceded that “the aim of the passage was not…to express, after thorough examination, a definite opinion regarding the situation in the Philippine Islands as compared with that in other islands possessions, such as the Netherlands Indies, but to state that, from the information available, the position in the Philippine Islands was believed not to be worse than elsewhere.”[34] The US also clashed with the British on the issue of prohibition, as Malcolm Delevingne cited the numerous statements regarding opium smuggling in the Philippines in the abovementioned 1926 report by the United States. Delevingne noted in particular the report’s admission that “it cannot be denied that smugglers succeed in bringing into the Philippine Islands large quantities of opium and morphine” and that “these difficulties were exactly the same as those encountered by the British Government.”[35] Delevingne claimed that this “justified the view expressed in 1925 that prohibition was only one way of dealing with the problem and that it was not a decisive way.”[36] Moreover, he admonished that it “was not and could not, under present conditions, be equivalent to suppression.”[37]

The League continued to further attempt to determine the extent of opium smoking in southern and eastern Asia, including in the Philippines.[38] In 1930, the League’s Commission of Inquiry on Opium Smoking in the Far East visited a number of countries in Asia, as well as the Philippines. The report on their findings further belied the insistence of the colonial authorities in the Philippines that narcotics smuggling was now inconsequential.


The Bangkok and Geneva Conventions, 1931

Following the findings of the League’s Commission of Inquiry on Opium Smoking in the Far East, the Bangkok Convention of 1931 was called to deal with the ongoing issue of illicit traffic and consumption of opium in Asia. However, the US was represented merely by an observer, John Caldwell from the League Advisory, rather than a plenipotentiary delegation.  Similarly to previous international conferences and his statements at League meetings, Caldwell cited US colonial drug policy in the Philippines as evidence of the merits of prohibition. Despite the evidence to the contrary, Caldwell claimed that the “result of enforcement of complete prohibition of the use of opium for purposes other than medicinal is considered to have proved satisfactory in the Philippine Islands.”[39]  The Bangkok Convention was largely considered ineffectual by observers and the New York Times reported that no consensus was reached.[40] Despite the presence of the US at the Conference, the State Department later noted “it will be recalled that the Government of the United States was represented at the Bangkok Conference by an observer only, is not a party to the agreement signed at that Conference, and did not sign the Final Act of the Conference.”[41]

However, the United States did send a plenipotentiary delegation to another convention on drug control that year.[42] At the 1931 Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotics, John Caldwell featured once more as a representative of the US.  In this instance he was joined in Geneva by California Senator Sanborn Young, Assistant Surgeon-General Dr. Walter Lewis Treadway and most importantly Commissioner of Narcotics Harry J. Anslinger. In addition to sending plenipotentiary rather than observational representatives to this round of international drugs diplomacy, the US also actually signed the agreement of the Convention. This came with several caveats, however. The United States reserved the right to enforce “measures stricter than the provisions of the Convention.”[43] The United States in signing did not implicitly acknowledge the Governments also signing the Convention as the legitimate governing bodies of their respective polities if they had not already recognized them as such, or were obligated in any way to a country’s unrecognized government as a result of the Convention’s agreement.  The United States also took issue with administrative procedures of the League of Nations, stating that the “Government…finds it impracticable to undertake to send statistics of import and export to the Permanent Central Opium Board short of sixty days after the close of the three months’ period to which such statistics refer.”[44]

Despite the presence of the US delegation and the rather extensive list of caveats, the Philippines were not represented or mentioned in any capacity in the agreement. This was a telling omission regarding the shift in American priorities regarding drug control. Instead of the prominence of the Philippines in earlier conventions on drug regulations, American concerns were focused on the metropole and drug control efforts there. Anslinger, rather than Brent, was directing American regulatory negotiations now and colonial prohibition was an afterthought rather than a driver of diplomatic priorities. The lack of reference to the Philippines was nonetheless decidedly not because enforcing prohibition there had ceased to be a challenge for the colonial government, or due to a lack of an illicit supply of manufactured narcotics in the archipelago. The smuggling, sale, and consumption of illicit manufactured drugs such as cocaine and morphine continued to vex colonial authorities.[45]   Although the Philippines would not be fully autonomous until 1935 and independent until 1946, the United States was already preparing to divest themselves of their perceived colonial burden and the responsibility of enforcing prohibition there.



American attempts to confine opium and manufactured pharmaceuticals to medicinal and scientific use in their new colony developed into a global restrictive approach to the regulation of psychoactive substances, establishing an international drugs regulatory regime based on controlling supply. This was achieved through multilateral summits, during which the US sought to convince foreign producer and manufacturing states of the need to restrict exports of drugs to countries permitting their entry and to work towards restricting their use to medical purposes. This led to the agreements of the 1909 Shanghai Commission, the 1912 Hague Convention, the 1924-1925 Geneva Convention and the 1931 Bangkok and Geneva Conferences. Despite the importance of the Philippines to the US in earlier multilateral agreements, by the early 1930s American drug diplomacy was centered on the metropole in large part due to the difficulty of enforcing prohibition in the colonial context.  The precedent remained, however, as the clearest marker of the colonial legacy of these multilateral summits for drug control was the delegation from the independent Republic of the Philippines at the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961 in New York City. Eduardo Quintero testified the country’s primary issue in confronting criminalized narcotics was “the illicit traffic in opium, which was smuggled in from the mainland of China via Hong Kong and North Borneo.”[46]  His colleague, Mrs. S.D. Campomanes, the head of the Narcotic Drugs Division of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, claimed that “excessive supply was one of the principal causes of illicit drug traffic.”[47]  E.D. Espinosa- Chief Drug Inspector for the Bureau of Health- asserted that despite the “illicit traffic,” the prevalence of drug addiction in his native country was not unduly concerning. Espinosa also stated that the Philippine Government was nevertheless committed to furthering “the interests of international co-operation” regarding drug control.[48] Similarly, the Philippines permanent representative to the UN and plenipotentiary delegate F.A. Delgado rather grandly declared that “although his country did not produce or manufacture drugs, he would vote in favor of the Convention in the interests of all mankind.”[49] While these diplomatic exchanges took place nearly fifteen years after the official declaration of the independence of the Philippines from the United States, the enduring colonial legacy of prohibition is clear.  The claims of the Philippine representatives that drug addiction posed little threat to the archipelago but that they were nonetheless prepared to forgo potential revenue given the importance of drug control worldwide echoed similar statements from former colonial officials. So, too, did the characterization of illicit narcotics as an external threat from the surrounding nations rather than an internal problem, which made supply control imperative in order to stem the flow of illegal drugs from without the Philippines- the result of the profoundly transformational approach to drug regulation by the US colonial state and its usage of multilateralism.

[1]  “Correspondence respecting the Opium Question in China,” No. 2, Sir Edward Grey to Sir Mortimer Durand, 17 October 1906, Foreign Office, FO 415: Correspondence Respecting Opium, PRO., 6 vols (Wilmington:  Scholarly Resources, 1974).

[2] Foreign Office, United Kingdom, “Correspondence respecting the Opium Question in China,” No. 2, 17 October 1906.

[3] Foreign Office, United Kingdom, “Correspondence respecting the Opium Question in China,” No. 2, 17 October 1906.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Courtwright, Dark Paradise, p.202.

[6] Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Washington D.C., USA, Charles Henry Brent (CHB) Papers, Conferences on Opium, Report of the International Opium Commission: Shanghai, China, February 1 to February 26, 1909, Vol. I p.26; Box 38, Folder 2.

[7] Barrier Miner, New South Wales, Australia, “Opium Smuggling in the Philippines: Traders Also Sell Rifles to Natives,” 4 April 1910.

[8] LOC CHB, Opium Problem: Message from the President of the United States, Transmitting a Report from the Secretary of State on the International Opium Commission and on the Opium Problem as Seen Within the United States and its Possessions, Prepared by Mr. Hamilton Wright on Behalf of the American Delegates to the Said Commission, Held at Shanghai in February, 1909, p.4, Box 41, Folder 10.

[9] CHB, Opium Problem, p.4, Box 41, Folder 10.

[10] New York Times, “Move Against Opium Trade: Bishop Brent Presses on Britain Carrying Out of Shanghai Agreement,” 9 July 1910.

[11] NYT, “Move Against Opium Trade,” 9 July 1910.

[12] LOC CHB, Importation and Use of Opium: Hearings Before the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, 61st Congress, 3rd Session on H.R. 25240, H.R. 25241. H.R. 25242, and H.R. 28971, January 11, 1911 (Washington: Government Printing Office) p.79, Box 41, Folder 12.

[13] New York Times, “Opium Conference To-day: Twelve Countries Represented in the Deliberations at The Hague,” 1 December 1911.

[14] New York Times, “Opium Conference To-day,” 1 December 1911.

[15] New York Times, “Opium Conference To-day,” 1 December 1911.

[16] See The United States v. Louis T. Grant and William Kennedy (29 December 1910) G.R. No. L-5786 (Supreme Court of the Philippines, 1910); The United States v. Valeriano de los Reyes and Gabriela Esguerra (16 November 1911) G.R. No. L-6800 (Supreme Court of the Philippines, 1911); The United States v. Pow Sing et al. (12 November 1912) G.R. No. L-7424 (Supreme Court of the Philippines, 1912).

[17] LOC CHB papers, Memoranda on the manufacture of and traffic in morphine and cocaine in the United States and the Philippine Islands, with statement as to opium, in continuation of Senate Document No. 377, 61st Congress, 2nd Session: Memorandum in amendment of statement on “Opium Problem in the Philippine Islands,” pages 26-29) Senate Document No. 377, 61st Congress, 2nd Session, p.13. Box 41, Folder 12.

[18] CHB papers, Memoranda on the manufacture of and traffic in morphine and cocaine in the United States and the Philippine Islands, with statement as to opium, p.13. Box 41, Folder 12.  

[19]CHB papers, Memoranda on the manufacture of and traffic in morphine and cocaine in the United States and the Philippine Islands, with statement as to opium, p.13. Box 41, Folder 12.  

[20] International Opium Convention Signed at The Hague January 23, 1912, League of Nations Treaty Series, Vol. VIII.

[21] Report of the governor of Mindanao and Sulu, (Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1916).

[22] Francis Harrison, The Cornerstone of Philippine Independence: My Seven Years in the Philippines (New York: The Century Company, 1922), p.337.

[23] Ellen N. LaMotte, The Ethics of Opium, (New York: The Century Company, 1924).

[24] Harrison, Cornerstone, p.336.

[25] Harrison, Cornerstone, p.333.

[26] Ibid, p.337.

[27] Harrison, Cornerstone, p.337.

[28] It is unclear from Harrison’s discussion whether this exchange took place before or after the United States refused to join the League.

[29] Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, The Traffic in Habit-Forming Narcotic Drugs On H.J. Res 195, 1924, p.103.

[30] Ibid, p.243.

[31] NYT 15 February 1925.

[32] Minutes of the Eleventh Session, Advisory Committee on the Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs, Held at Geneva from April 12th to 27th, 1928; Seventh Meeting April 17th, 1928, p.39, BIA, Entry 5, Box 202, File 1023/338.

[33] Minutes of the Eleventh Session, Seventh Meeting April 17th, 1928, p.41, BIA, Entry 5, Box 202, File 1023/338.

[34] Minutes of the Eleventh Session, Seventh Meeting April 17th, 1928, p.41, BIA, Entry 5, Box 202, File 1023/338.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] New York Times, “Bishop Brent,” 28 March 1929.

[39] “Statement by Mr. Caldwell,” 1931, BIA, Entry 5, Box 205, File 1023/415C(6).

[40] New York Times, “Opium Conference Counted a Failure: Meeting at Bangkok Reached No Decision on Main Points, Geneva Hears,” 20 December 1931.

[41] “Statement by Mr. Caldwell,” 1931, BIA, Entry 5, Box 205, File 1023/415C(6).

[42] BIA, Entry 5, Box 205, File 1023/401.

[43] Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs, 13 July 1931, Geneva, League of Nations, C.69(a).M.35(a).1932.XI. p.15

[44] Convention for Limiting the Manufacture and Regulating the Distribution of Narcotic Drugs, 1931, p.15.  


[45] Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs with Respect to the Philippine Islands for the Six Months’ Period from July 1- December 31 1928 and for the Calendar Year 1929 (Division of Printing: Washington D.C., 1929); Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs with Respect to the Philippine Islands for the Calendar Year 1930 (Division of Printing: Washington D.C., 1930).


[46] United Nations Conference for the Adoption of a Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, New York, 24 January-25 March 1961, Official Records, New York, United Nations, 1964 (Volume I; Volume II, UN E/CONF 34/24; E/CONF/34/24(1), Vol. I, p.16.

[47] Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, Vol I, p.56-57.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, Vol I, p.216.

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