« PreviousContinue »
Hoo said that China would probably make a formal appeal to the League during the Assembly and intimated that the policy mentioned under (2) above implied that China might possibly attempt to utilize the Advisory Committee. He said that utilization of the Committee was a door which remained open but that his Government had not yet definitely decided in regard to its approach in placing the matter before the League.
Subsequently the Secretariat has informed me that it is preparing to transmit the note to Committee members and to the United States, presumably through the Legation at Bern.
The Secretariat is looking into past procedures to determine the exact form of such transmission.
The question arises as to whether the Advisory Committee is an organ in being. Hoo evidently so considers it and presumably the Secretariat also, at least by implication through its action in communicating the note to Committee members.
793.94/9818: Telegram The Chargé in Switzerland (Bigelow) to the Secretary of State
BERN, August 31, 1937–11 a. m.
[Received August 31–8:50 a. m.] 79. Reference Geneva Consulate's telegram No. 262, August 30, 9 p. m. Legation received this morning the text of the Chinese Government's note with unsigned, undated, covering communication worded as follows:
"In accordance with the request contained therein, the Secretary General has the honor to communicate herewith to the Advisory Committee set up by the Special Assembly convened in virtue of article 15 of the Covenant, at the request of the Chinese Government, a letter from the Director of the Permanent Office of the Chinese delegation to the League together with the statement enclosed therewith."
League appears to attach considerable importance to receipt of the note by United States Government. In addition to apprising Consulate that it was forthcoming, a member of the Secretariat advised me by telephone last night that Legation would receive note this morning.
The note which contains approximately 1900 words is as characterized in the Consulate's telegram. Detailed summary of about 1200 words telegraphed by New York Times correspondent. Its five concluding paragraphs which contain most significant parts are as follows:
“The above brief account of what Japan has done since the outbreak of the Lukouchiao incident on July 7, 13 brings out the following facts most clearly, truthfully and indisputably.
“1. Japanese armed forces have invaded China's territory and are extensively attacking Chinese positions by land, sea and air, in Central, as well as North China. It is thus a case of aggression pure and simple.
“2. China is exercising her natural right of self-defense, the failure of all other means of repelling violence having compelled her to resort to force, which is contrary to China's wish.
"3. Japan's present action in China is the continuation of her aggressive program started in Manchuria in September 1931. Japan has now occupied the Peiping-Tientsin area and is bent upon extension of her occupation to the whole of North China and domination of the [other] regions in spite of all her assurances that she has no territorial designs on this country. She is attempting to destroy all the work of reconstruction which the Chinese Nation has so steadily and assiduously undertaken during the last 10 years.
64. In thus deliberately disturbing the peace of the Far East, Japan has violated the fundamental principles of the Covenant of the League of Nations. Using war as an instrument of national policy and ignoring all the pacific means for the settlement of international controversies, she has violated the Paris Peace Pact of 1927 [1928). Acting contrary to her pledge to respect the sovereignty, the independence and the territorial and administrative integrity of China, she has violated the Nine-Power Treaty concluded at Washington in 1922."
Full text 14 mailed Queen Mary September 1.
GENEVA, August 31, 1937–4 p. m.
[Received August 31-1 p. m.] 263. Consulate's 262, August 30, 9 p. m. and Legation's 79, August 31, 11 a. m. The Secretariat is definitely of the opinion that the Advisory Committee is still in existence. Local reaction in Secretariat and press circles is that the Chinese note of yesterday is the first step toward a future appeal to the League which the Chinese hope would (a) provoke general discussion of the SinoJapanese controversy with a resulting favorable world public opinion for China's case and (6) through a convocation of the Advisory Committee draw the United States into any deliberations which the Committee might hold in the hope that perhaps by so doing the United States might find it difficult to remain further aloof from the general Sino-Japanese situation. There is some difference of opinion as to the procedure the Chinese Government will probably follow if it decides to attempt to provoke such discussion in the Assembly and to effect the convocation of the Advisory Committee. An examination of the resolution of February 24, 1933 (see special supplement number 111  Official Journal) suggests that an appeal under paragraph 3 of article No. 3 of the Covenant might attain those ends.
13 See vol. III, pp. 129 ff., passim. " For full text of Chinese communication dated August 30, see League of Nations, Official Journal, August-September 1937, p. 653.
In view of the growing likelihood of an appeal being made to the League of Nations in connexion with the situation in the Far East, His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom are anxious to learn whether the United States Government contemplate being represented at Geneva in any way if this event arises. According to the Chinese Ambassador in London the Chinese Government intend to make such an appeal to the League.
2. His Majesty's Government are anxious to keep in touch with the United States Government in dealing with the situation, and the French Government have informed them that they share this desire.
WASHINGTON, August 31, 1937.
793.94/9942 Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Wilson) of a
Conversation With the British Chargé (Mallet)
[WASHINGTON,] September 2, 1937. In accordance with instructions from the Secretary, I discussed with Mr. Mallet the aide-mémoire of the British Embassy handed to the Division of Far Eastern Affairs on August 31st in respect to American representation at Geneva, in the event that an appeal is made to the League by the Chinese Government.
I told Mr. Mallet that Mr. Leland Harrison, who would shortly become American Minister to Bern, would be in Geneva and would carry on the work under the same conditions as I had previously done in that city, that he was planning to remain there through the Assembly. Mr. Mallet said that, of course, members of the Foreign Office at London were thoroughly familiar with my position in Geneva and he would merely report that Harrison would occupy himself with the same work.
I then added that, since he had handed in his aide-mémoire, we had heard from Geneva and Bern to the effect that the Chinese had apprised the League, as well as members of the Advisory Committee, of the situation in the Far East; as far as we knew, no specific appeal had been made; the Chinese note seemed more in the nature of information. I then stated that, since early in 1933, under instructions from my Government, I had sat on the Advisory Committee, but without the right of vote.
Mr. Mallet asked me whether this meant that Mr. Harrison would also sit on the Advisory Committee and I replied that we were not perfectly sure whether the Advisory Committee was still in existence or whether it would be summoned, that if it were decided by the Secretary General that the Committee was still in being and it were summoned, Harrison may sit as I have done, but that I could not give him assurances in this matter as we wished to remain free to adopt such course as might be called for in the circumstances.
HUGH R. WILSON
PARIS, September 2, 1937—6 p. m.
[Received September 2–5:40 p. m.] 1238. Delbos at luncheon today said that the second question he wished to discuss with me was far more important than the question of Haiti.15 The Chinese Government desired to bring the question of Japanese aggression against China before the League of Nations at the September meeting. He would be opposed to the League dealing with this question except on condition that the United States should be prepared to send an observer to attend the sessions of the League as had been done when the Japanese had invaded Manchuria. He asked me whether or not the United States Government would be prepared to send an observer to attend the sessions of the League.
I replied that I had no information whatsoever on this subject, that I had explained to him repeatedly that it was the desire of the United States not to engage in any joint action in the Far East and asked him what procedure he would envisage if the United States should send an observer. He replied that if the United States should send an observer the League he believed would condemn the Japanese aggression against China and would expect the United States to make a
parallel though independent condemnation. He then asked me please to inform him as soon as possible with regard to the position of my Government on this question. I replied that I would ask for instructions. He went on to say that while he was certain that the condemnation of Japanese aggression by the League would not be of any great importance it would nevertheless be heartening to the Chinese and would be of some assistance to them in obtaining for them the support of public opinion throughout the world. He then repeated his request that I should ascertain the position of our Government as soon as possible. I should be grateful for instructions.
Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck)
[WASHINGTON,] September 3, 1937. Conversation: The Secretary of State;
The Chinese Ambassador, Dr. C. T. Wang. Present: Mr. Hornbeck. The Chinese Ambassador called at his own request at 11:30 this morning.
The Secretary inquired about the latest news of the situation in China. The Ambassador replied that there was very severe fighting. The Secretary inquired whether the official news differed from the press news. The Ambassador replied that they were about the same, as there is no great amount of censorship.
The Ambassador then said that the Chinese Government has decided to invoke, at the coming meeting of the League, Article 17 of the Covenant and if it does not succeed in that approach then to invoke Article 16. They hoped that the American Government would give moral support through its membership on the Advisory Committee. The Secretary commented on the fact that, although the American Government has expressed itself openly and vigorously on the subject of policy, other governments have remained mute. He asked: If they will not speak, how can it be expected that they will act! He said that, with us, Congress has passed a Neutrality Act.16 This is something that lies ahead of us. We are "on a twenty-four hour basis.” If other governments will not even speak, what does China expect of
The Ambassador replied that China as a member of the League felt that she must appeal to the League. They wanted to make every move of theirs known officially to the American Government.
18 Approved August 31, 1935; 49 Stat. 1081; as amended February 29, 1936, and May 1, 1937, 49 Stat. 1152, and 50 Stat. 121.