793.94 Commission/211: Telegram

The Consul at Geneva (Gilbert) to the Acting Secretary of State

180. The Secretariat has issued a communiqué giving text of correspondence between Drummond and Litvinoff regarding the Lytton Commission. This action was taken on receipt of word from the Soviet Government that these documents would be published in Moscow in order to rectify incorrect information published in the press of various countries.

Drummond’s letter of April 20 to Litvinoff reads as follows:

“I have been confidentially informed by Lord Lytton, President of the Commission which is now in the Far East for the purpose of making a report to the Council on the questions at issue between China and Japan, that the Commission feels that during its stay in Manchuria it might be of great help for it to be able to receive any information or evidence which officials of the Soviet Government in [Page 8] Manchuria might be authorized to furnish to it. Lord Lytton inquires whether a request to this end would meet with any objection on the part of the Soviet Government. I should be very grateful for any help or advice which you might give us in this matter.”

Litvinoff’s reply follows:

“Pursuant to the request which you were so good as to transmit to me by your letter of the 20th instant I have the honor to communicate to you the following reply from the Government of the U. S. S. R.:

The Soviet Government would be disposed to give all possible aid to the work of any commission that would be sincerely actuated by a desire to make clear the actual state of affairs in Manchuria and which would really desire to put an end to the armed conflicts which are taking place in China. The Soviet Government however, which is not a member of the League of Nations, has participated neither in the examination of present events in China nor in the formation of Lord Lytton’s Commission and has no representative on that Commission; it is not, therefore, in a position to assure itself that the information that its representative might furnish would receive appropriate treatment and cannot, therefore, assume any responsibility for the conclusions that the Commission of the League of Nations might reach[;] in these circumstances, the Soviet Government feels obliged to reply to your request in the negative.”