893.113/518: Telegram

The Minister in China (Schurman) to the Secretary of State

268. Your 142, July 16, 5 p.m. and 145, July 26 [23], 5 p.m.41 Majority members of diplomatic body in Pehtaiho when I went for week end July 26 to 29 consulted with dean, British Minister and others.

Dutch Minister adheres to recommendation of diplomatic body of February 3rd [9th] which advises as many powers as possible to approve Washington resolution but widening scope by including aircraft other than commercial craft. Swedish Chargé d’Affaires favors same and can take no further step without consulting his Government. That has been also the position of the Norwegian Minister.

The real difficulty with these and other Ministers is their conviction that any agreement among the powers to have an effective arms embargo would merely enlarge and consolidate the tolerably complete monopoly which Italy has hitherto been enjoying of selling [Page 612]arms and munitions of war to the Chinese. Recently 21 carloads of Italian arms and other war material were shipped from Shanhaikwan to Tientsin … These materials can now be purchased not only in Tientsin but also through an agency in Peking. My colleagues assure me that if our home Governments can stop this traffic in arms by the Italians it would be easy to secure substantial unanimity in the diplomatic body in regard to their resolution of October 4th [3d], 1922, possibly with the interpretative note limited to the inclusion of commercial aircraft.

Unless the Department feels that the lack of unanimity in the Peking diplomatic body at the present time constitutes a reason for contrary course there is in my opinion no objection to informing the British Government that the Department accepts the terms of an embargo embodying the resolution and interpretative note mentioned in preceding sentence.

Schurman
  1. Latter not printed.