The Chinese Legation to the Department of State
Text of a Statement Issued by Dr. Lo Wen-kan, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Concerning Japan’s Announcement of Withdrawal From the League of Nations
“After the military occupation of the Three Northeastern Provinces, the attack on Shanghai and more recently the invasion of Jehol, in utter disregard of the sanctity of the international agreements and the resolutions of the League of Nations, the Japanese Government has now formally announced Japan’s withdrawal from that International Organization whose object is to promote international [Page 259] cooperation and to achieve international peace and security. This step taken by the Japanese Government at a time when the League of Nations is making most earnest efforts to settle the Sino-Japanese problem is nothing less than a deliberate attempt to impair the post-war machinery for the preservation of peace of the world. It is also tantamount to an open declaration rejecting the settlement by pacific means of an international dispute of the first magnitude and compelling China to accept what terms and conditions Japan may choose to dictate.
“There is no need to take up here the usual and fallacious arguments advanced by the Japanese Government in justification of its secession, as these have been conclusively refuted not only by the Chinese Government on various occasions, but also by the League of Nations in its numerous resolutions as well as in its assembly report. But, it must be pointed out that Japan’s declaration of her intention to withdraw from the League of Nations does not absolve her from obligations which she must fulfil before she can claim right to effect her withdrawal. Paragraph 3, article 1 of the Covenant plainly states that ‘any member of the League may, after two years’ notice of its intention so to do, withdraw from the League, provided that all its international obligations and all its obligations under this Covenant shall have been fulfilled at the time of its withdrawal’. As applied to Japan’s announced withdrawal, it means that still binding on her are all resolutions adopted by the Council and Assembly of the League of Nations ever since the League was seized of the Sino-Japanese dispute and that equally binding on her will be all decisions or resolutions which may be adopted by the League in this matter at any time before her secession day regarded as fact in law. It also means that Japan is not entitled to the right to withdraw from the League unless and until she has carried out not only all resolutions and decisions of the League of Nations in respect to present dispute and other obligations under the Covenant, but also all obligations under those international agreements, provisions of which have also been proclaimed by the League as guiding principles for the settlement of the dispute. In short, if Japan claims right to withdraw from the League, it is her duty to implement all provisions of the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the Nine-Power Treaty as well as those of the Covenant, within the two years after she has notified her withdrawal from the League of Nations. If she fails to do so, she remains a member of the League and will be as much subject to its authority as every other Member-State. The just and equitable settlement of the Sino-Japanese question by the League is, therefore, in no way prejudiced by the step which the Japanese Government has taken.[Page 260]
“On the other hand Japan’s announced withdrawal instead of weakening the authority of the League of Nations as she may fondly believe will enable the League to deal all the more effectively and expeditiously with the Sino-Japanese dispute. The Japanese Delegate to the League had repeatedly threatened that Japan would withdraw from the League of Nations. But the fact that the League has ignored his threats and unanimously adopted the Assembly report is a clear evidence of its firm determination to settle the dispute according to its own principles. And since it is the purpose of the League to maintain its authority, attempts of secession of a recalcitrant member who has persistently and deliberately violated provisions of the Covenant as well as resolutions of the League Council and Assembly will only enable it to perform its great task with greater freedom. It is therefore the belief and conviction of the Chinese Government that the League with its strengthened position and its firm determination will not fail to take immediate and effectual steps to deal with the new situation that has arisen.
“Now that Japan has announced her withdrawal from the League of Nations she is confronted with opposition of all countries which give their hearty support to the Covenant as well as to principle of justice and cause of peace. The Chinese Government is convinced that the ideals for which the League stands will ultimately triumph and that the Sino-Japanese dispute will receive just and equitable settlement, while aggression will suffer, in due course, inevitable consequences of its open defiance of the civilized conscience of the postwar world.”