The British Ambassador (Lindsay) to the Secretary of State

No. 89

Sir: You will recollect that in his note No. 265 of 4th August, 1934,59 Mr. Osborne explained the views of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom with regard to the export of arms to China, [Page 720] and made certain enquiries on the subject to which you were good enough to reply in your note of 10th August.60

Simultaneously with the enquiries addressed to the United States Government, His Majesty’s Government made similar enquiries of the French, Belgian, Italian, Japanese, Czechoslovakian, Swedish, Polish, Spanish, Swiss, Danish and Norwegian Governments. From the replies received it appeared that the attitudes adopted by all those Governments except the Polish, the Belgian, the Swiss and the Japanese, were wholly satisfactory, in that they indicated unqualified compliance with the Chinese Government’s regulations.
The Polish Government stated that they were prepared to follow the same attitude as His Majesty’s Government provided that the other arms producing countries acted similarly; and that, as all Polish arms factories were state-owned, they would be in a position effectively to implement their undertaking. Since no appreciable exports of arms from Poland to China took place in the year 1933, His Majesty’s Government are disposed to accept this reply as satisfactory. The Japanese Government answered that they require a “Huchao” issued by the Chinese Central Government before permitting the export of arms to China, but they refuse to require the Chinese Minister’s countersignature. The Swiss Government stated that there were no regulations in Switzerland controlling the manufacture and trade in arms, and that the authorities had only been able to inform certain private firms of the Chinese regulations. The Belgian Government stated that they would only consider the imposition of a measure of control when they had received assurances from all countries concerned that identical measures had been taken and effectively applied.
These replies, when received, were carefully considered by His Majesty’s Government, who have decided that a further approach should be made to the Belgian and the Swiss Governments with a view to securing practical uniformity of procedure among all the Governments concerned. His Majesty’s Representatives in Brussels and in Berne have accordingly been instructed to address further representations to the Governments to which they are accredited.
The French Embassy in London have informed the Foreign Office that, subsequent to the above mentioned enquiry undertaken by His Majesty’s Government, the French Government themselves enquired of eight governments as to their attitude. In their opinion all the replies that they have received appear to be satisfactory, with the exception of that from Japan.
If the United States Government agree with the view of His Majesty’s Government that the replies of the Swiss and Belgian Governments, as indicated above, are unsatisfactory, His Majesty’s [Page 721] Government would regard it with satisfaction if the United States Government could see their way to instruct their representatives in Berne and Brussels to support the renewed representations which have been made by His Majesty’s Representatives in those two capitals.
I have the honour to request that consideration may be given to this suggestion as soon as may be conveniently possible.

I have [etc.]

R. C. Lindsay