Texts of Resolutions Adopted by the Conference65

I. Resolution Establishing a Commission of Jurists to Consider Amendment of the Laws of War

The United States of America, the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan have agreed:

I.
That a Commission composed of not more than two members representing each of the above-mentioned Powers shall be constituted to consider the following questions:
(a)
Do existing rules of international law adequately cover new methods of attack or defense resulting from the introduction or development, since the Hague Conference of 1907,66 of new agencies of warfare?
(b)
If not so, what changes in the existing rules ought to be adopted in consequence thereof as a part of the law of nations?
II.
That notices of appointment of the members of the Commission shall, within three months after the adjournment of the present Conference, be transmitted to the Government of the United States of America which after consultation with the Powers concerned will fix the day and place for the meeting of the Commission.
III.
That the Commission shall be at liberty to request assistance and advice from experts in international law and in land, naval and aerial warfare.
IV.
That the Commission shall report its conclusions to each of the Powers represented in its membership.
Those Powers shall thereupon confer as to the acceptance of the report and the course to be followed to secure the consideration of its recommendations by the other civilized Powers.

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Sixth Plenary Session, February 4th, 1922.

II. Resolution Limiting the Jurisdiction of the Commission of Jurists

Resolved, That it is not the intention of the Powers agreeing to the appointment of a Commission to consider and report upon the rules of international law respecting new agencies of warfare that the Commission shall review or report upon the rules or declarations relating to submarines or to the use of noxious gases and chemicals already adopted by the Powers in this conference.

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Sixth Plenary Session, February 4th, 1922.

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III. Resolution Regarding the Sale of Ships Before the Ratification of the Treaty Limiting Naval Armament

It should therefore be recorded in the minutes of the Subcommittee and of the full Conference that the Powers signatory of the Treaty of Naval Limitation regard themselves in honor bound not to sell any ships between the present date and the ratification of the Treaty, when such a sale would be a breach of Article XVIII.

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Sixth Plenary Session, February 4th, 1922.

IV. Resolution Establishing a Board of Reference for Far Eastern Questions

The representatives of the Powers assembled at the present Conference at Washington, to-wit, the United States of America, Belgium, the British Empire, China, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Portugal:

Desiring to provide a procedure for dealing with questions that may arise in connection with the execution of the provisions of Articles III and V of the Treaty to be signed at Washington on February 6th, 1922, with reference to their general policy67 designed to stabilize conditions in the Far East, to safeguard the rights and interests of China, and to promote intercourse between China and the other Powers upon the basis of equality of opportunity;

Resolve that there shall be established in China a Board of Reference to which any questions arising in connection with the execution of the aforesaid Articles may be referred for investigation and report.

The Special Conference provided for in Article II of the Treaty to be signed at Washington on February 6th, 1922, with reference to the Chinese Customs Tariff,68 shall formulate for the approval of the Powers concerned a detailed plan for the constitution of the Board.

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Sixth Plenary Session, February 4th, 1922.

V. Resolutions Regarding Extraterritoriality in China

The representatives of the Powers hereinafter named, participating in the discussion of Pacific and Far Eastern questions in the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, to wit, the United [Page 290]States of America, Belgium, the British Empire, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Portugal:

Having taken note of the fact that in the Treaty between Great Britain and China dated September 5, 1902, in the Treaty between the United States of America and China dated October 8, 1903,69 and in the Treaty between Japan and China dated October 8, 1903, these several Powers have agreed to give every assistance towards the attainment by the Chinese Government of its expressed desire to reform its judicial system and to bring it into accord with that of Western nations, and have declared that they are also “prepared to relinquish extraterritorial rights when satisfied that the state of the Chinese laws, the arrangements for their administration, and other considerations warrant” them in so doing;

Being sympathetically disposed towards furthering in this regard the aspiration to which the Chinese delegation gave expression on November 16, 1921, to the effect that “immediately or as soon as circumstances will permit, existing limitations upon China’s political, jurisdictional and administrative freedom of action are to be removed”;70

Considering that any determination in regard to such action as might be appropriate to this end must depend upon the ascertainment and appreciation of complicated states of fact in regard to the laws and the judicial system and the methods of judicial administration of China, which this Conference is not in a position to determine;

Have resolved

That the Governments of the Powers above named shall establish a Commission (to which each of such Governments shall appoint one member) to inquire into the present practice of extraterritorial jurisdiction in China, and into the laws and the judicial system and the methods of judicial administration of China, with a view to reporting to the Governments of the several Powers above named their findings of fact in regard to these matters, and their recommendations as to such means as they may find suitable to improve the existing conditions of the administration of justice in China, and to assist and further the efforts of the Chinese Government to effect such legislation and judicial reforms as would warrant the several Powers in relinquishing, either progressively or otherwise, their respective rights of extraterritoriality;

That the Commission herein contemplated shall be constituted within three months after the adjournment of the Conference in accordance with detailed arrangements to be hereafter agreed upon by the Governments of the Powers above named, and shall be instructed [Page 291]to submit its report and recommendations within one year after the first meeting of the Commission;

That each of the Powers above named shall be deemed free to accept or to reject all or any portion of the recommendations of the Commission herein contemplated, but that in no case shall any of the said Powers make its acceptance of all or any portion of such recommendations either directly or indirectly dependent on the granting by China of any special concession, favor, benefit or immunity, whether political or economic.

additional resolution

That the Non-Signatory Powers, having by treaty extraterritorial rights in China, may accede to the resolution affecting extraterritoriality and the administration of justice in China by depositing within three months after the adjournment of the Conference a written notice of accession with the Government of the United States for communication by it to each of the signatory Powers.

additional resolution

That China, having taken note of the resolutions affecting the establishment of a Commission to investigate and report upon extraterritoriality and the administration of justice in China, expresses its satisfaction with the sympathetic disposition of the Powers hereinbefore named in regard to the aspiration of the Chinese Government to secure the abolition of extraterritoriality in China, and declares its intention to appoint a representative who shall have the right to sit as a member of the said Commission, it being understood that China shall be deemed free to accept or to reject any or all of the recommendations of the Commission. Furthermore, China is prepared to cooperate in the work of this Commission and to afford to it every possible facility for the successful accomplishment of its tasks.

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Fourth Plenary Session, December 10, 1921.

VI. Resolution Regarding Foreign Postal Agencies in China

A.
Recognizing the justice of the desire expressed by the Chinese Government to secure the abolition of foreign postal agencies in China, save or except in leased territories or as otherwise specifically provided by treaty, it is resolved:
(1)
The four Powers having such postal agencies agree to their abandonment subject to the following conditions:
(a)
That an efficient Chinese postal service is maintained;
(b)
That an assurance is given by the Chinese Government that they contemplate no change in the present postal administration so far as the status of the foreign Co-Director General is concerned.
(2)
To enable China and the Powers concerned to make the necessary dispositions, this arrangement shall come into force and effect not later than January 1, 1923.
B.
Pending the complete withdrawal of foreign postal agencies, the four Powers concerned severally undertake to afford full facilities to the Chinese customs authorities to examine in those agencies all postal matter (excepting ordinary letters, whether registered or not, which upon external examination appear plainly to contain only written matter) passing through them, with a view to ascertaining whether they contain articles which are dutiable or contraband or which otherwise contravene the customs regulations or laws of China.

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Fifth Plenary Session, February 1st, 1922.

VII. Resolution Regarding Foreign Armed Forces in China

Whereas

The Powers have from time to time stationed armed forces, including police and railway guards, in China to protect the lives and property of foreigners lawfully in China;

And whereas

It appears that certain of these armed forces are maintained in China without the authority of any treaty or agreement;

And whereas

The Powers have declared their intention to withdraw their armed forces now on duty in China without the authority of any treaty or agreement, whenever China shall assure the protection of the lives and property of foreigners in China;

And whereas

China has declared her intention and capacity to assure the protection of the lives and property of foreigners in China;

Now

To the end that there may be clear understanding of the conditions upon which in each case the practical execution of those intentions must depend;

It is resolved:

That the Diplomatic Representatives in Peking of the Powers now in Conference at Washington, to wit, the United States of America, Belgium, the British Empire, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Portugal, will be instructed by their respective Governments whenever China shall so request, to associate themselves with three representatives of the Chinese Government to conduct collectively a full and impartial inquiry into the issues raised by the foregoing declarations of intention made by the Powers and by China and shall thereafter prepare a full and comprehensive report setting out with [Page 293]out reservation their findings of fact and their opinions with regard to the matter hereby referred for inquiry, and shall furnish a copy of their report to each of the nine Governments concerned which shall severally make public the report with such comment as each may deem appropriate. The representatives of any of the Powers may make or join in minority reports stating their differences, if any, from the majority report.

That each of the Powers above named shall be deemed free to accept or reject all or any of the findings of fact or opinions expressed in the report but that in no case shall any of the said Powers make its acceptance of all or any of the findings of fact or opinions either directly or indirectly dependent on the granting by China of any special concession, favor, benefit or immunity, whether political or economic.

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Fifth Plenary Session, February 1st, 1922.

VIII. Resolution Regarding Radio Stations in China, and Accompanying Declarations

The representatives of the Powers hereinafter named participating in the discussion of Pacific and Far Eastern questions in the Conference on the Limitation of Armament, to wit, the United States of America, Belgium, the British Empire, China, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Portugal,

Have resolved

1.
That all radio stations in China, whether maintained under the provisions of the international protocol of September 7, 1901,71 or in fact maintained in the grounds of any of the foreign legations in China, shall be limited in their use to sending and receiving government messages and shall not receive or send commercial or personal or unofficial messages, including press matter: Provided, however, that in case all other telegraphic communication is interrupted, then, upon official notification accompanied by proof of such interruption to the Chinese Ministry of Communications, such stations may afford temporary facilities for commercial, personal or unofficial messages, including press matter, until the Chinese Government has given notice of the termination of the interruption;
2.
All radio stations operated within the territory of China by a foreign government or the citizens or subjects thereof under treaties or concessions of the Government of China, shall limit the messages sent and received by the terms of the treaties or concessions under which the respective stations are maintained;
3.
In case there be any radio station maintained in the territory of China by a foreign government or citizens or subjects thereof without [Page 294]the authority of the Chinese Government, such station and all the plant, apparatus and material thereof shall be transferred to and taken over by the Government of China, to be operated under the direction of the Chinese Ministry of Communications upon fair and full compensation to the owners for the value of the installation, as soon as the Chinese Ministry of Communications is prepared to operate the same effectively for the general public benefit;
4.
If any questions shall arise as to the radio stations in leased territories, in the South Manchurian Railway Zone or in the French Concession at Shanghai, they shall be regarded as matters for discussion between the Chinese Government and the Government concerned;
5.
The owners or managers of all radio stations maintained in the territory of China by foreign powers or citizens or subjects thereof shall confer with the Chinese Ministry of Communications for the purpose of seeking a common arrangement to avoid interference in the use of wave lengths by wireless stations in China, subject to such general arrangements as may be made by an international conference convened for the revision of the rules established by the International Radio Telegraph Convention, signed at London, July 5, 1912.72

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Fifth Plenary Session, February 1st, 1922.

declaration concerning the resolution regarding radio stations in china

The Powers other than China declare that nothing in paragraphs 3 or 4 of the Resolution of December 7th, 1921, is to be deemed to be an expression of opinion by the Conference as to whether the stations referred to therein are or are not authorized by China.

They further give notice that the result of any discussion arising under paragraph 4 must, if it is not to be subject to objection by them, conform with the principle[s] of the open door or equality of opportunity approved by the Conference.

declaration by the chinese delegation concerning radio stations in china

The Chinese Delegation takes this occasion formally to declare that the Chinese Government does not recognize or concede the right of any foreign Power or of the nationals thereof to install or operate, [Page 295]without its express consent, radio stations in Legation grounds, settlements, concessions, leased territories, railway areas or other similar areas.

IX. Resolution Regarding the Unification of Railways in China, and Accompanying Declaration by China

The Powers represented in this Conference record their hope that to the utmost degree consistent with legitimate existing rights, the future development of railways in China shall be so conducted as to enable the Chinese Government to effect the unification of railways into a railway system under Chinese control, with such foreign financial and technical assistance as may prove necessary in the interests of that system.

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Fifth Plenary Session, February 1st, 1922.

declaration by the chinese delegation regarding chinese railways

The Chinese Delegation notes with sympathetic appreciation the expression of the hope of the Powers that the existing and future railways of China may be unified under the control and operation of the Chinese Government with such foreign financial and technical assistance as may be needed. It is our intention as speedily as possible to bring about this result. It is our purpose to develop existing and future railways in accordance with a general program that will meet the economic, industrial and commercial requirements of China. It will be our policy to obtain such foreign financial and technical assistance as may be needed from the Powers in accordance with the principle[s] of the open door or equal opportunity; and the friendly support of these Powers will be asked for the effort of the Chinese Government to bring all the railways of China, now existing or to be built, under its effective and unified control and operation.

X. Resolution Regarding the Reduction of Chinese Military Forces

Whereas the Powers attending this Conference have been deeply impressed with the severe drain on the public revenue of China through the maintenance in various parts of the country of military forces, excessive in number and controlled by the military chiefs of the Provinces without coordination;

And whereas the continued maintenance of these forces appears to be mainly responsible for China’s present unsettled political conditions;

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And whereas it is felt that large and prompt reductions of these forces will not only advance the cause of China’s political unity and economic development but will hasten her financial rehabilitation;

Therefore, without any intention to interfere in the internal problems of China, but animated by the sincere desire to see China develop and maintain for herself an effective and stable Government alike in her own interest and in the general interest of trade;

And being inspired by the spirit of this Conference whose aim is to reduce, through the limitation of armament, the enormous disbursements which manifestly constitute the greater part of the encumbrance upon enterprise and national prosperity;

It is resolved:

That this Conference express to China the earnest hope that immediate and effective steps may be taken by the Chinese Government to reduce the aforesaid military forces and expenditures.

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Fifth Plenary Session, February 1st, 1922.

XI. Resolution Regarding Existing Commitments of China or With Respect to China

The Powers represented in this Conference, considering it desirable that there should hereafter be full publicity with respect to all matters affecting the political and other international obligations of China and of the several Powers in relation to China, are agreed as follows:

I. The several Powers other than China will at their earliest convenience file with the Secretariat General of the Conference for transmission to the participating Powers, a list of all treaties, conventions, exchanges of notes, or other international agreements which they may have with China, or with any other Power or Powers in relation to China, which they deem to be still in force and upon which they may desire to rely. In each case, citations will be given to any official or other publication in which an authoritative text of the documents may be found. In any case in which the document may not have been published, a copy of the text (in its original language or languages) will be filed with the Secretariat General of the Conference.

Every treaty or other international agreement of the character described which may be concluded hereafter shall be notified by the Governments concerned within sixty (60) days of its conclusion to the Powers who are signatories of or adherents to this agreement.

II. The several Powers other than China will file with the Secretariat General of the Conference, at their earliest convenience, for transmission to the participating Powers a list, as nearly complete [Page 297]as may be possible, of all those contracts between their nationals, of the one part, and the Chinese Government or any of its administrative subdivisions or local authorities, of the other part, which involve any concession, franchise, option or preference with respect to railway construction, mining, forestry, navigation, river conservancy, harbor works, reclamation, electrical communications, or other public works or public services, or for the sale of arms or ammunition, or which involve a lien upon any of the public revenues or properties of the Chinese Government or of any of its administrative subdivisions. There shall be, in the case of each document so listed, either a citation to a published text, or a copy of the text itself.

Every contract of the public character described which may be concluded hereafter shall be notified by the Governments concerned within sixty (60) days after the receipt of information of its conclusion to the Powers who are signatories of or adherents to this agreement.

III. The Chinese Government agrees to notify in the conditions laid down in this, agreement every treaty, agreement or contract of the character indicated herein which has been or may hereafter be concluded by that Government or by any local authority in China with any foreign Power or the nationals of any foreign Power, whether party to this agreement or not, so far as the information is in its possession.

IV. The Governments of Powers having treaty relations with China, which are not represented at the present Conference, shall be invited to adhere to this agreement.

The United States Government, as convener of the Conference, undertakes to communicate this agreement to the Governments of the said Powers, with a view to obtaining their adherence thereto as soon as possible.

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Fifth Plenary Session February 1st, 1922.

XII. Resolution Regarding the Chinese Eastern Railway, Approved by the Powers Including China

Resolved, That the preservation of the Chinese Eastern Railway for those in interest requires that better protection be given to the railway and the persons engaged in its operation and use; a more careful selection of personnel to secure efficiency of service, and a more economical use of funds to prevent waste of the property.

That the subject should immediately be dealt with through the proper diplomatic channels.

Adopted by the Conference on the Limitation of Armament at the Sixth Plenary Session, February 4th, 1922.

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XIII. Resolution Regarding the Chinese Eastern Railway, Approved by the Powers Other Than China

The powers other than China, in agreeing to the Resolution regarding the Chinese Eastern Railway, reserve the right to insist hereafter upon the responsibility of China for performance or nonperformance of the obligations towards the foreign stockholders, bondholders and creditors of the Chinese Eastern Railway Company which the Powers deem to result from the contracts under which the Railroad was built and the action of China thereunder and the obligations which they deem to be in the nature of a trust resulting from the exercise of power by the Chinese Government over the possession and administration of the Railroad.

  1. Reprinted from Conference on the Limitation of Armament, p. 1640. For the adoption of these resolutions, see Report of the American Delegation, p. 306.
  2. For papers concerning this Conference, see Foreign Relations, 1907, pt 2, pp. 1099 ff.
  3. Ante, p. 276.
  4. Ante, p. 282.
  5. Malloy, Treaties, 1776–1909, vol. i, p. 261.
  6. Statement printed in full on p. 272.
  7. Malloy, Treaties, 1776–1909, vol. ii, p. 2006.
  8. Malloy, Treaties, 1910–1923, vol. iii, p. 3048.