Letter to the World Narcotic Defense Association.
My dear Admiral Hobson:
When the present Administration took office ten countries had ratified the Geneva Narcotic Limitation Convention. The United States was one of these ten. Between March 4 and April 10,1933, twenty other countries deposited their ratifications and the Treaty went into operation on July 9, 1933. It was my privilege, as President, to proclaim, on that day, that this Treaty had become effective throughout the jurisdiction of the United States. Since then, nineteen additional ratifications have been deposited at Geneva and the Treaty has now become the basis of international accord on narcotics. Already its influence has produced a profound effect upon the supply and the distribution of illicit narcotic drugs.
An imperative duty rests upon us as a people. Full effect can be given to the terms of the drug conventions only by supporting legislation enacted by the ratifying Nations. In this country, Federal laws have already been passed. Under our dual form of Government, the power to enact an essential part of this legislation is possessed by the States and by them alone. The provisions necessary for the fulfillment of the duties thus vested in our several States, are incorporated in the draft of the Uniform State Narcotic Law now pending before the legislatures of many of our States. This draft was prepared with great care and has received the endorsement and approval of a large number of responsible organizations of the country, including' the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association.
While it was my privilege to proclaim that the Treaty of 1931 became operative in our country on July 9, 1933, it is now the high privilege of the legislatures of the several States to give full effect to the beneficent terms of this Treaty by the enactment of suitable and uniform narcotic legislation. By so doing the legislatures will give to their own people far better protection than they now have against the ravages of the narcotic drug evil and at the same time they will strengthen the hands of the United States in its efforts to aid them and further to combat this evil abroad through full cooperation between our country and other Nations.
On January 1, 1933, only nine Nations had registered their ratification of the Limitation Treaty. On January 1, 1935, only nine States had adopted the Uniform State statute. As 1933 witnessed ratification of the Treaty by thirty-one additional Nations, so may 1935 witness the adoption of the Uniform Drug Act by at least thirty-one more States, thereby placing interstate accord abreast of international accord, to the honor of the legislative bodies of our States and for the promotion of the welfare of our people and the peoples of other lands.
Very sincerely yours,
Admiral Richmond P. Hobson,
World Narcotic Defense Association,
The Army and Navy Club,
Washington, D. C.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter to the World Narcotic Defense Association. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/208464