793.94/2965: Telegram

The Chargé in France (Shaw) to the Secretary of State

823. From Ambassador Dawes. Following is report from Sweetser:

“The Japanese submitted to Briand late tonight what was considered to be a very important private document regarding Chinchow. They propose, in effect, that, with their own withdrawal already under way, the Chinese similarly withdraw their troops from Chinchow, leaving the control of the district in the hands of the Chinese authorities reenforced by a sufficient extra number of police troops to maintain order. These arrangements, including the number of extra police, would be elaborated between the Japanese Consul and the Chinese authorities. Briand immediately transmitted the proposal to Sze with the hope that it might provide a solution for the most serious remaining military problem and consolidate the withdrawal of Japanese troops already stated by both British and French observers to have begun.

At this afternoon’s meeting of the Twelve Cecil reported on this morning’s meeting of the Drafting Committee with Sze, who he said seemed inclined to be moderate because of the news regarding withdrawal. Sze had seemed satisfied that the system of observers as explained to him would work quickly in emergency; had said that though he would like 9 or 11 members of the commission he would not make an issue of this point; had on the advice of his 2 American advisers reduced the limitation on the competence of the commission to domestic questions to a phrase ‘without prejudice to the right of the commission to exercise its full discretion to control its own agenda’ and had abandoned or received satisfaction on certain other small points.

The only outstanding point with the Chinese, Cecil concluded, was as to the relationship between evacuation and the commission. A new text had been prepared by the Secretariat which Sze accepted; the only point at issue was whether it should be in the resolution or the President’s declaration. Sze insisted on the former; Cecil preferred the latter especially as a balance to demands by the Japanese but it might be possible to reach a compromise by including it in the resolution but giving it to Sze formally in advance. The suggested text was as follows:

‘Should the engagements taken by the two parties according to the resolution of September 30th not have been executed by the time of the arrival of the commission, the commission shall as speedily as possible report to the Council on the situation with such recommendations as it may think fit.’

Cecil also stated that, following a disquieting letter from Ito, the Drafting Committee had met with him this afternoon and been somewhat reassured. Ito had in fact transmitted his instructions from Tokyo but Cecil had the impression that on most points agreement was possible.

[Page 602]

As regards one point to which Ito attached great importance, Ito himself rather felt it better to include the phrase regarding evacuation ‘a point to which the Council attached great importance’ in the President’s declaration; this was in fact a commentary which the Council could use as a bargaining point.

There remained one very big question as to what was to be done about bandits. Here the situation was worse than yesterday as to [sic] the Japanese Cabinet, despite Shidehara’s efforts to have this provision included in the President’s declaration, had decided that it ought to appear in the resolution itself. This seemed to Cecil really impossible. It would reduce the whole negotiation to nothing and had not the slightest defense in international law. He had told Ito he thought there was no hope of the Council’s agreeing to its inclusion in the resolution but said with some reluctance that it might be put in the President’s declaration. If this were justified at all it was only because of the very exceptional circumstances prevailing in Manchuria through the breakdown of civil government. This, to Cecil, is the most difficult point in the whole negotiations now that China’s moderated attitude has removed the difficulty as to a time limit. It was extremely repugnant to him that one power should be allowed to send troops to scatter bandits on the territory of another and it would be very difficult for the Chinese to accept it as it would constitute an admission that they cannot maintain order on their own soil.

Madariaga said he attached very great importance to inserting in the resolution the Chinese suggestion regarding the relationship of evacuation and the commission. He thought the Council should take a definite position on this point and suggested that it might ask the Japanese to agree to this in return for giving up the commentary on evacuation to which they objected. This the Council agreed to do. A further report followed on the bandit question. Colban was anxious to have the Twelve take a definite position on this; he felt that any such authorization as the Japanese asked should be highly exceptional and not more formal than by inclusion in the declaration. The Panaman representative felt that this point must be very carefully guarded; all Latin America would be anxious about it. Cecil said nothing could be done till the Japanese had had time to communicate today’s discussion to Tokyo where a cabinet meeting would undoubtedly be necessary. Briand however urged that each member of the Council do whatever he could to induce the issue to be moderate on this last remaining point and expressed the view that it would be very valuable if General Dawes also could see any way to help in this matter.

Cecil then proposed a meeting of the Drafting Committee tomorrow morning to put the small changes recommended by both sides into final form for distribution privately to the members of the Council tomorrow noon. No further meeting of the Twelve seemed desirable until a reply had come from Tokyo on the all-important point of bandits. At that time it might be necessary to have a public meeting on this point to let the two parties thrash it out.”

  • [Dawes]
  • Shaw
  1. Telegram in five sections.