The meeting was designated a 'commission' rather a conference, although this was the preference of the United States. Having the status of a conference would have given it the power to draft regulations to which signatory states would be bound by international law". The commission was only authorized to make recommendations.
According to Paul S. Reinsch, the commission made these suggestions in its final resolution:
It is the duty of all countries to adopt reasonable measures to prevent the departure of shipments of opium to any country which prohibits its entry; that drastic measures should be taken by each government in its own territories to control the manufacture, sale, and distribution of the drug; that all governments possessing settlements in China shall take effective action toward the closing of opium divans in the said settlements.
- Hampden Coit DuBose, American missionary