The Chargé in Belgium (Sussdorff) to the Secretary of State

No. 475

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s instruction No. 204, of April 15, 1935, and the Embassy’s despatch No. 452, of May 6, 1935,71 concerning the Belgian policy regarding the export of arms to China.

In this connection, I now have the honor to report that on May 20th I received a letter from Mr. MacKillop, First Secretary of the British Embassy in Brussels, stating that the British Embassy had been instructed by the British Foreign Office not to make any representations to the Belgian Government at the present time beyond those made in the Embassy’s note of February 5, 1935. Mr. MacKillop further stated that the British Foreign Office had expressed the hope that the American Embassy in Brussels would now be in a position to support the representations already made by the British Government on this subject. For the Department’s information, I am enclosing a copy of the British note of February 5, 1935, and the Belgian Foreign Office’s reply of March 11, 1935.71

On May 23, 1935, I called on Mr. LeTellier, Chief of the Political Section of the Belgian Foreign Office, and made an oral statement of the viewpoint of our Government in accordance with the instructions contained in the last paragraph on page 3 of the Department’s instruction under reference. Mr. LeTellier replied that he must consult the Belgian official who was handling the details of the case, who was absent on a week’s leave. Mr. LeTellier telephoned me this afternoon that, as stated in its note of March 11, 1935, to the British Embassy, the Belgian Government still favors the conclusion of a general convention concerning traffic in arms which would cover trade with all countries rather than traffic with any single country. Mr. LeTellier stated emphatically, however, that in fact Belgian producers do not export arms to China without a license from the Chinese Government. “Without such a license, the exporters would run a risk and the Belgian Government would not support them.”

The British Embassy considers this assurance very satisfactory and regards it as a distinct advance in obtaining the cooperation of the Belgian Government in the matter of the control of the shipment of arms to China.

Respectfully yours,

Louis Sussdorff, Jr.
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