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793.94/10468: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Switzerland (Harrison)

WASHINGTON, October 6, 1937-6 p. m.

10. The Secretary made the following statement today with regard to the Far Eastern situation.

"The Department of State has been informed by the American Minister to Switzerland of the text of the report adopted by the Advisory Committee of the League of Nations setting forth the Advisory Committee's examination of the facts of the present situation in China and the treaty obligations of Japan. The Minister has further informed the Department that this report was adopted and approved by the Assembly of the League of Nations today, October 6.

Since the beginning of the present controversy in the Far East, the Government of the United States has urged upon both the Chinese and the Japanese Governments that they refrain from hostilities, and has offered to be of assistance in an effort to find some means, acceptable to both parties to the conflict, of composing by pacific methods the situation in the Far East.

The Secretary of State in statements made public on July 16 and August 23 made clear the position of the Government of the United States in regard to international problems and international relationships throughout the world and as applied specifically to the hostilities which are at present unfortunately going on between China and Japan. Among the principles which in the opinion of the Government of the United States should govern international relationships, if peace is to be maintained, are abstinence by all nations from the use of force in the pursuit of policy and from interference in the internal affairs of other nations; adjustment of problems in international relations by process of peaceful negotiation and agreement; respect by all nations for the rights of others and observance by all nations of established obligations; and the upholding of the principle of the sanctity of treaties.

On October 5 at Chicago the President elaborated these principles, emphasizing their importance, and in a discussion of the world situation pointed out that there can be no stability or peace either within nations or between nations except under laws and moral standards adhered to by all; that international anarchy destroys every foundation for peace; that it jeopardizes either the immediate or the future security of every nation, large or small; and that it is therefore of vital interest and concern to the people of the United States that respect for treaties and international morality be restored.

In the light of the unfolding developments in the Far East the Government of the United States has been forced to the conclusion that the action of Japan in China is inconsistent with the principles which should govern the relationships between nations and is contrary to the provisions of the Nine Power Treaty of February 6, 1922, regarding principles and policies to be followed in matters concerning China, and to those of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of August 27, 1928. Thus the

conclusions of this Government with respect to the foregoing are in general accord with those of the Assembly of the League of Nations."

You are authorized to transmit a copy of this statement to the Secretary General of the League of Nations.


793.94/10461: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State

GENEVA, October 6, 1937-8 p. m. [Received October 6-5:30 p. m.]

34. After adjournment of the Assembly this evening Cranborne asked me to inquire what would be the most agreeable method for the League members, parties to the Washington Treaty, to present their invitation to you. He suggested that they communicate with each other probably through regular diplomatic channels with a view to agreeing on some one of them to present the invitations to the parties to the Treaty not members of the League. He would be glad if you would send your answer through the Embassy. It was possible he said that Eden might have already approached you through the British Embassy in Washington.


793.94/10462: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State

GENEVA, October 6, 1937-10 p. m. [Received October 6-6:22 p. m.]

35. Reference my telegram No. 25, October 4, 8 p. m.

1. After Cranborne presented his proposal respecting consultation between parties to the Washington Treaty and other states with special interests there was a brief rest. During that interval Cranborne spoke to me privately and expressed regret that there had been no time to consult you regarding his proposal. He had been faced with Koo's insistence for action under article 10 and this had seemed to be the best way out. He hoped that the course pursued would cause you no embarrassment as this was particularly desired by Eden. He asked me what I thought your reaction would be to such an invitation. I replied that I could give him no assurance on that point, that the line of action we have pursued should be described as parallel rather than

joint. I made the same reply privately to a similar question from Lagarde who sat next to me during the meeting.

2. I learned this afternoon from a usually well-informed source that at this time the following three factors in the situation are causing principal concern to the Japanese Government: (1) The action concluded here today, (2) the gradual exhaustion of Japanese military and naval material and reserves, and, (3) particularly whether China would be able to continue to obtain oil supplies.


793.94 Conference/1

The British Embassy to the Department of State


His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom understand that the President of the Assembly of the League of Nations, following on a recommendation by the Advisory Committee concerned with the Sino-Japanese dispute, is to-day addressing a letter to the members of the League who are parties to the Nine-Power Treaty inviting them to initiate consultation as soon as possible. The Advisory Committee have expressed the hope that the other States having special interests in the Far East would be associated with the States who are members of the League in such consultation.

This seems, in the view of His Majesty's Government, to leave open the decision as to how consultation should be organised. In this connexion His Majesty's Government would be glad to learn as soon as possible any views which the United States Government may have as to how effect should be given to the invitation of the President of the Assembly. Among the points to be considered is the question as to how further invitations should be issued, what form they should take, and where a conference (which is in the view of His Majesty's Government clearly necessary) should take place.

If the United States Government felt able themselves to call the conference, or were willing that it should take place in Washington, His Majesty's Government would for their part warmly concur.

In the opinion of His Majesty's Government it seems clear that, in accordance with the hope expressed by the Advisory Committee, the Government of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics should be invited to take part in the proposed consultation. They presume further that it would be for consideration whether an invitation should also be addressed to the German Government.

WASHINGTON, October 6, 1937.

793.94/10470: Telegram

The Minister in Switzerland (Harrison) to the Secretary of State

GENEVA, October 7, 1937-2 p. m. [Received October 7-10: 16 a. m.]

40. Referring to my telegram No. 34, October 6, 10 [8] p. m., while I gathered from my conversation with Cranborne that the issuance of invitations to states with "special interests in the Far East" not parties to the Washington Treaty would await the decision of the parties to the Treaty, it has been generally assumed that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics would be invited and I have no doubt that Litvinov took this for granted in view of the wording of the last sentence of the 11th paragraph of the second report of the Subcommittee.


793.94 Conference/1

The Department of State to the British Embassy


Mr. Wilson informed Mr. Mallet that he had taken advice on the aide-mémoire which Mr. Mallet was good enough to leave this morning and that, as a result, was in a position to answer certain questions proposed by the British Government, which, for the sake of convenience, he would break down and enumerate.

The British Government inquires how effect should be given to the invitation of the President of the Assembly and states that among the points to be considered are:

(1) As to how further invitations should be issued?

The Government of the United States feels that, in the first instance, this question, as it would appear from the Assembly resolution, is one to be dealt with by those signatories of the Nine Power Treaty who are also members of the League of Nations among themselves, but suggests that it might be found practicable for the six original parties, excluding China, Japan and the United States, to offer a joint suggestion for a meeting.

(2) What form the invitations should take?

It would seem to this Government that it would be advisable in this matter that the invitations should be couched in as broad language as possible, perhaps purely a suggestion as to time and place of meeting, coupled with the phrase in the Assembly resolution to the effect that the purpose was to seek a method of putting an end to the conflict by agreement.

(3) Where the conference should take place?

The Government of the United States sees certain decided disadvantages in Washington as a place for the meeting. This Government suggests, for the consideration of the British Government, that the conference, in fact, should not be held in any large capital or at Geneva, but that it might be held at some smaller place in Europe. (4) When should the meeting take place?

As to this, the American Government feels that it would be advantageous to hold the meeting as soon as practicable, having due consideration for the necessity of reasonable preparation and travel.

(5) Advisability of invitations to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Germany?

While the Government of the United States is not desirous of offering any objection to the issue of an invitation, it would like to inquire whether the British Government has considered, since the meeting would be summoned under the Nine Power Treaty, the advisability that the signatories thereto, when assembled, should consider the matter of inviting other powers. It would be helpful for this Government to be apprised of the views of the British Government on the advisability of the issue of such invitation. It would also be helpful if the British Government could throw any light on the probable attitude of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Germany in the event that they attended the meeting.

The consideration is not raised in the communication of the British Government, but the question has arisen as to the type of delegation that the nations might feel it advisable to send. In this connection, the thoughts of the British Government would prove helpful.

WASHINGTON, October 7, 1937.

793.94/10505: Telegram

The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

TOKYO, October 8, 1937-6 p. m. [Received October 8-9:26 a. m.]

459. Department's 254, October 6, 7 p. m.81

1. The Department's announcement of October 6 on the Sino-Japanese conflict and press telegrams on that subject from Washington and from various European capitals are sensationally featured this morning in all papers. The attitude of the United States is the only subject of editorial comment.


Not printed; it repeated the Secretary's statement quoted in telegram No. 10, October 6, 6 p. m., p. 62.

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