The Secretary General of the League of Nations (Avenol) to the Secretary of State 11


The first meeting of the Special Committee on Technical Collaboration with China just created by the Council of the League, will take place on Tuesday next12 in Paris for the purpose of formalising and coordinating the several types of international assistance to China which have developed during the past years as a result of the original request for such assistance forwarded to the League Council in May 1931 by President Chiang Kai Shek and T. V. Soong. The States forming part of this Committee, which will be represented at Paris are: Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Norway and China.

The League’s technical cooperation with China in the two years since China’s original request has extended so variously and developed such possibilities of helpful and non-political cooperation that the Council had deemed it wise to take measures not only to coordinate the different types of work but also to formalise it by closer association and contact with the various Governments interested. During this period an appreciable number of technical experts have been sent to China, either as officials of the League or as appointees of the Chinese Government itself. At the present moment, there are about a dozen such officials in China, including experts in health, civil engineering, agriculture, silk-growing, civil service, telephone, telegraph and education.

The meeting in Paris on Tuesday, which constitutes the first business [Page 498] meeting of the new Committee, is for the double purpose of naming a technical liaison officer and of outlining the general lines on which the future work is to be organised. The technical officer, who will be stationed in Nankin, will be responsible for coordinating the work of the experts on the spot, for supplying periodic reports to the Committee for forwarding proposals to the Committee from the Chinese Government and for requesting or recommending the appointment of additional experts. One of the purposes of the Committee is to draw up general principles for the development of this work, which will maintain it on an entirely international and non-political basis and assure wide participation in it.

The Committee has been given power to associate in its work other States, amongst which the United States was particularly in mind. The Committee would be very glad to have an American representative present on Tuesday and to issue whatever form of invitation was desirable to that effect, provided the American Government were known to be favourably disposed. Should the principle of such representation be acceptable, the Committee could arrange the details in any way desired.

This technical cooperation with China is considered to be a matter of international importance, strongly recommended in the Lytton Report and later endorsed by the Assembly report13 which was accepted by the American Government.14 As the United States is already a member of the League Advisory Committee dealing with the Sino-Japanese dispute, the hope is expressed that the United States may also associate itself in one form or another with this more technical Committee.

The Secretary General, while appreciating the difficulty created by the impossibility of advancing this suggestion earlier, would, nevertheless, be deeply grateful if it were possible to have an indication of the American Government’s view.

  1. Handed to the Secretary of State in London, by Arthur Sweetser, American member of Information Section, League of Nations, on behalf of the Secretary General of the League; copy transmitted to the Department July 16.
  2. July 18.
  3. For text of the Assembly report adopted February 24, 1933, see League of Nations, Official Journal, Special Supp. No. 112, p. 56.
  4. See telegram No. 86, March 11, 1933, 8 p.m., to the Minister in Switzerland, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, p. 117.