893.00 Nanking/54

The British Ambassador (Howard) to the Secretary of State

No. 247

Sir Esme Howard has the honour to inform the Secretary of State that he has received a communication from His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, explaining as follows the attitude of His Majesty’s Government with regard to the notes to be presented to the Cantonese Authorities by the Representatives in China of the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan.

Sir Austen Chamberlain states that, while His Majesty’s Government are ready, in order to avoid unnecessary delay, and in the interests of solidarity, to waive their insistence on prior acceptance in principle of the application of sanctions, in case the demands of the Powers are not complied with by the Cantonese, and to authorize presentation of demands as these now stand, they still adhere to the suggestion originally made that the naval authorities of the Signatory Powers in China should examine the question of sanctions and should formulate an agreed plan of action for submission to their Governments.

His Majesty’s Government hope therefore that the United States Government will authorize their naval authorities in China to join in making such an examination, so that a programme of sanctions may be in being in case it is found necessary at last to apply them.

Sir Austen Chamberlain declares that he entirely agrees with the objections Mr. Kellogg expressed to Mr. Chilton on the 5th instant50 to any plan for the further bombardment of Chinese cities or ports, but he earnestly hopes that these objections would not be such as to exclude in advance the possibility of any collaboration by the United States in such sanctions as may be recommended, as practical and desirable, by the naval authorities of the five Powers in China.

  1. See memorandum by the Secretary of State, April 6, p. 182.