The Chargé in Sweden ( Gittings ) to the Secretary of State

No. 319

Sir: With reference to this Legation’s despatch No. 272 of September 10, 1924,68 and previous correspondence concerning the proposed modification of the terms of the existing embargo on the shipment of arms and munitions of war to China (as set forth in the Department’s unnumbered instruction of October 17, 192369), I have the honor to transmit, as enclosures, in the original French text and in translation, the reply of the Royal Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, dated November 26, 1924.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I have [etc.]

John Sterett Gittings, Jr.

The Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs ( Unden ) to the American Chargé ( Gittings )

Mr. Chargé d’Affaires: In a letter of November 6, 1923,68 Mr. Cord Meyer, then Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the United States, was good enough to inform the Minister for Foreign Affairs that the Government of the United States had notified its Peking representative of its acceptance of the resolutions discussed by the diplomatic corps in Peking in a meeting held on October 3, 1922, concerning the embargo on the export of arms and munitions destined for China. These recommendations were based, according to the letter in question, on the adhesion of the powers represented in Peking to the amended project of the resolution on this subject presented on January 31, 1922, to the Washington Conference, and to a more extensive [Page 539] interpretative formula of this project of which the letter contained the text.

At the same time Mr. Cord Meyer expressed the hope of his Government that the Swedish Government would find itself in a position to give to its representative in Peking instructions in the same sense.

The question having been subjected to a thorough study, I find myself to-day able to communicate to you the following:

The Swedish Government is fully convinced of the extreme importance of the reestablishment in China of a normal situation, and is willing to believe that measures having for their object the effective prevention of the importation of arms and munitions into that country cannot fail to contribute to that end. It will therefore not refuse, on condition that all the interested powers do likewise, to adhere in equal degree to the aforementioned project of resolution, presented to the Washington Conference. It is also disposed, subject to the same condition, to join in the recommendation adopted on February 9, 1923,71 by the Chiefs of Mission at Peking, which has for its object extending the projected resolution aforementioned to cover aircraft other than commercial aircraft.

As to the far greater extension of the prohibition of export set forth in the meeting of October 3, 1922, this would not be in accordance with the dispositions of Swedish law and so the Swedish Government does not find itself in a position to acquiesce therein. It would, moreover, feel itself less warranted in doing so in view of the fact that the reports concerning the deliberations of Washington and Peking and information received from still other sources scarcely permit a full reliance on a general adhesion to such an extension by the powers concerned.

The Swedish Government, at this juncture, permits itself to call your attention to the fact that an additional conference, summoned for the purpose of studying the question, is about to meet in Geneva next year. And it wonders, inasmuch as the prohibition of export of arms and munitions to China does not seem on the whole to have had the desired efficacy up to the present, whether it would not be better to submit the question in hand for study by that conference.

Pray accept [etc.]

Östen Unden
  1. Not printed.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. i, p. 614, footnote 45.
  3. File translation revised.
  4. Not printed.
  5. See telegram no. 46, Feb. 9, from the Minister in China, Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. i, p. 606.