The Department of State to the British Embassy


Reference is made to the British Ambassador’s aide-mémoire of April 11, 1938,80 in which there is discussed the question of the possible use of good offices directed toward bringing the hostilities in the Far East to a close. The views of the Government of the United States are invited on the question of the advisability of mediatory action at an opportune time by both the British Government and the Government of the United States or, as distinguished therefrom, action by one or the other of the two Governments.

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The Government of the United States is especially impressed by the view of the British Ambassador at Tokyo, as set forth in the British Ambassador’s aide-mémoire, to the effect that there does not appear to be at the present moment any prospect of useful intermediary action. So far as the information in the possession of this Government indicates, neither the Chinese Government nor the Japanese Government would be prepared at this time to agree to terms of peace which would be acceptable to the other. This Government appreciates the cogency of the views that Japanese public opinion would not be likely at present to welcome or even accept collaborative mediatory action by the United Kingdom and the United States, owing to the implications of pressure in such a démarche, and that in some circumstances mediatory action by one government is more likely to be attended by success than mediatory action by more than one government. This Government is also of the opinion that the situation may change.

The Government of the United States is therefore inclined to the view that it would be advisable, before assuming a definite attitude toward the question of mediation by one government as distinguished from mediation by more than one government, to await a time when developments in the conflict between China and Japan are such as to render opportune an offer by a third country or countries of good offices.

This Government is of the opinion that any government or governments that may undertake mediation should keep other principally interested governments reasonably well informed of the progress of negotiations.

In case there occur any developments which seem to it significant in reference to this matter, the Government of the United States will wish to communicate with the British Government in regard thereto. The Government of the United States trusts that the British Government will likewise wish, as developments occur, to keep this Government informed of the British Government’s attitude and thought.

  1. Not printed.