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aggressor. While he felt it to be extremely doubtful if the League would in any case impose sanctions, Geneva would nevertheless be employed as a forum for the rousing of public sympathy.
He added that his present advices were that prospects of a direct settlement were somewhat favorable.
793.94/9097 : Telegram
The Ambassador in France (Bullitt) to the Secretary of State
PARIS, July 30, 1937—noon.
[Received 1:10 p. m.] 1077. Delbos? said to me today that the Chinese Ambassador Koo had made a highly confidential and important statement to him yesterday. He then repeated in substance the ultra-confidential statement which Koo had made to me previously with regard to the action of the German and Italian Ambassadors in Moscow reported in my No. 1067, July 28, 9 p. m.+ I noted, however, that the version which Koo had given Delbos was slightly different from the version he had given me which made me doubt somewhat the accuracy of Koo's statements.
According to Delbos, the Italian position had been defined to the Chinese Ambassador in Rome, not to the Chinese Ambassador in Moscow.
Delbos declines to discuss the position in the Far East. He said that in fact China was isolated though he was definitely opposed to an appeal by China to the League of Nations. The League of Nations today was a cipher and the only result of a Chinese appeal would be the cipher would become the shadow of a cipher. The League still had some utility in Europe and he did not wish to see it made ridiculous.
He favored on the other hand an appeal by China to the signatories of the Nine-Power Pact 5 and had so stated to Koo yesterday.
He was certain that at the present moment the Soviet Union would do nothing to aid China. Indeed he had just received a telegram from the French Ambassador in Nanking stating that Chiang Kai-shek 6 was furious with the Russians. The Russians had led him to believe that they would support him and now had told him that they would do nothing.
Yvon Delbos, French Minister for Foreign Affairs. * Vol. II, p. 288. • Signed at Washington, February 6, 1922, Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. I, p. 276. President of the Chinese Executive Yuan (Premier).
793.94/9436 : Telegram
The Consul at Geneva (Everett) to the Secretary of State
GENEVA, August 16, 1937–4 p. m.
[Received August 16—3:10 p. m.] 255. Consulates 247, July 24, 11 a. m. During the course of a conversation today Hoo told me that the Chinese Government was still holding in abeyance the question of appealing to the League. From the beginning of the present conflict his Government had desired to refrain from any action here which might render more difficult a settlement with the Japanese on a peaceful basis particularly since the Chinese had the impression that the Japanese people and the Civil Government were not enthusiastic about the army's policy. China desired to do nothing to weaken the position of the Civil Government. From the present trend of events however Hoo felt that the Japanese were determined to force the issue. The Chinese Government would therefore probably appeal to the League but he did not know exactly when and in what form.
Hoo does not seem to have a clearly defined idea as to what advantages China might obtain from recourse to the League. He does not however expect any direct or immediate aid from the League or from the powers but hopes that aid would eventually come in some way if China can resist long enough to weaken the Japanese economically and financially. The duration and effectiveness of Chinese resistance he says would depend very largely on the assurances for China to obtain arms. He fears however that even if the powers should continue to ship arms to China the Japanese would eventually declare a blockade of Chinese ports. Russia would supply arms but he felt that in offering them the Soviets would attach political conditions. China might be obliged to accept such conditions as a desperate last resort if she were unable to obtain arms or other assistance from the
Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck)
[WASHINGTON,] August 20, 1937. Conversation: The Secretary of State;
The Chinese Ambassador, Dr. C. T. Wang. Present: Mr. Hornbeck. The Chinese Ambassador called at noon today at his own request.
The Secretary opened the conversation with the statement that the China situation is apparently becoming worse. The Ambassador
expressed concurrence in that view. The Secretary mentioned news which has been received of the dropping of a shell on the American flagship U.S.S. Augusta. The Ambassador said that he had seen news of this. The Secretary asked questions regarding the location in the river of the Augusta and the nearest Japanese vessels. The Ambassador answered the questions apparently with accurate knowledge of the situation.
The Ambassador then said that he had come under instructions to inform the Secretary of moves which China has in contemplation: China is thinking (1) of appealing to the League of Nations, and in that connection the Foreign Office wishes to know whether the American Government, although not a member of the League, would give support; and (2) of invoking the Nine Power Treaty, in which connection the Foreign Office wishes to know whether the United States, the treaty having been negotiated in Washington, would call for a consultation among the signatory powers. There followed some observations with regard to the implications and possibilities of such procedures. The Secretary made no commitment.
The Secretary then reverted to the subject of the location of American and Japanese naval vessels at Shanghai, and it was established that the Augusta is located at a point south of Soochow Creek and off the Bund. The Secretary then talked of agreements and practices on the basis of which it has been understood that the International Settlement area is one supposed to be immune from military operations, a place where security would prevail. The Secretary emphasized the importance of respect for its status as such. The Secretary said that the Chinese authorities had suddenly ordered our ships to separate themselves by five miles from the Japanese ships. The Ambassador stated that he did not know of this. The Secretary referred the question to Mr. Hornbeck. Mr. Hornbeck explained that we had been informed that the Chinese authorities had asked that our ships either move to somewhere five nautical miles distant from the Japanese ships or prevail on the Japanese ships to move away from our ships to such a distance. There followed some discussion of the impossibility as a practical matter of compliance with such a request.
The Ambassador then reverted to the subject of a Chinese appeal to the League and for an invocation of the Nine Power Treaty. He said that he was instructed to get an indication of the American Government's reaction. He said that his Government wished to consult us before acting, as it did not want to put us in an embarrassing position and did not want to invite a rebuff. He said that for his Government formally to make the request and to meet with a refusal would have, if it became known, a very unfortunate effect, a very unfortunate reaction in China. The Secretary indicated assent. The Secretary then spoke of the statement of policy which he had made on July 16 ' and asked whether that would not more than cover the subject. The Ambassador said that it did, so far as principle was concerned, but what his Government was now seeking was action. The Secretary asked whether Mr. Hornbeck would wish to make any comments or ask any questions. Mr. Hornbeck said that it would seem that what the Chinese Government was seeking was not so much an “invocation of the Nine Power Treaty” as something in the nature of consultation and conference on the part of the powers which happen to be signatories to the Nine Power Treaty. He wondered what the Chinese Government might have in mind for an agenda. He wondered what the Chinese Government would estimate likely to be the concrete effect of action such as it was suggesting. The Ambassador said that it would be for the powers concerned to make up the agenda, and the Chinese Government might contribute to the making. He said that one effect at the outset might be moral effect. He repeated that he was desirous of having the American Government's reaction. He expressly inquired whether he might call again tomorrow. The Secretary said that we would take the matter under consideration and would keep the problem in mind and as soon as we had anything to tell the Ambassador would let him know.
See telegram No. 531, August 21, 10 p. m., from the Consul General at Shanghai, p. 273.
See telegram No. 468, August 19, 3 p. m., from the Ambassador in China,
The Secretary and the Ambassador then exchanged expressions of serious solicitude over the gravity of the situation, and the conversation there ended.
S[TANLEY] K. H[ORNBECK]
Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck)
[WASHINGTON,] August 21, 1937. It is believed that reply should be made to the Chinese Ambassador's inquiry, to the effect, as regards the question whether we would support action in the nature of an appeal by China to the League of Nations, that, in case China makes such an appeal and in case the League takes the matter up, this Government's action may be expected to be along such lines, in support of League action, as were followed by this Government in 1931-1933 in connection with the Manchuria situation: namely, action in general support of an effort to bring hostilities
Vol. I, p. 699.
to an end and to prepare the way for a settlement by pacific means, by preserving and practicing full right of independent judgment.
It is believed that, in reference to the question of our taking the lead toward “invoking” the Nine Power Treaty, this Government should continue to avoid making any commitment on that subject. In case a telegram is sent to several powers asking for public utterances on the part of their Foreign Offices in expression of their present attitude regarding the Chinese-Japanese crisis, that telegram might be sent to each of the powers signatory to the Nine Power Treaty and the Chinese Government might be informed that such a telegram has been sent, but without its being stated that the powers addressed are the signatories of the Nine Power Treaty.
793.94/9816 : Telegram
The Consul at Geneva (Everett) to the Secretary of State
GENEVA, August 30, 1937–9 p. m.
[Received August 30–8:15 p. m.] 262. Consulate's 255, August 16, 4 p. m. Hoo informs me by telephone that acting on instructions from his Government he has just handed a note to the Secretary General containing a statement regarding the sequence of events in the present conflict with Japan and China's position in relation thereto. The conclusion which the note presents is that Japan's present action is a continuation of her aggressive program started in 1931 and that China is acting in self-defense, Japan having resorted to aggression in violation of the Covenant,10 the Kellogg Pact 11 and the Nine Power Treaty. The note, Hoo says, does not constitute an appeal to the League in the technical sense but is merely a statement of China's case consisting mainly of an historical résumé of the circumstances stipulating the various incidents. Hoo has requested the Secretary General to communicate the note to the members of the League and to the members of the Advisory Committee set up under the Assembly's resolution of February 24, 1933.12 The note will probably be published within the next few hours.
Hoo tells me in confidence that there were two reasons for his request that the note be communicated to the Advisory Committee: (1) In order to ensure that it be communicated to the United States Government; and (2) that it is China's policy to consider the present conflict as a continuation of the Manchurian conflict.
Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vol. XIII, p. 69.
Signed at Paris, August 27, 1928, Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. I, p. 153. 12 Foreign Relations, Japan. 1931-1941, vol. 1, p. 113.