793.94/8957: Telegram

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

247. Learning that the Herald Tribune Geneva correspondent had sent a despatch implying that the Chinese delegation here is considering bringing the dispute with Japan before the League, I sought an occasion to discuss the matter with Hoo.2 He assured me that the press despatch is absolutely without foundation.

The Minister then confidentially exposed China’s position vis-à-vis the League as follows. What action China might [take?] with Geneva would depend entirely on developments in Asia and any action whatsoever at present was regarded as entirely inopportune. Nanking perceived the League as of no value in preventing a conflict, the rousing of world opinion being considered fruitless without material action and if taken on Chinese initiative susceptible of producing the dangerous adverse effect of stiffening Japanese opposition in a manner to hinder a settlement. He said that China would not consider doing anything at Geneva except in case of the development of a major conflict. In such an event with everything to gain and nothing to lose China would undoubtedly endeavor to obtain the maximum of League support. In such an eventuality, referring to the Manchukuo affair, he said, however, that China would approach the League from a different angle, that she would not ask the League to effect a settlement but would request the League to impose sanctions against the [Page 2] aggressor. While he felt it to be extremely doubtful if the League would in any case impose sanctions, Geneva would nevertheless be employed as a forum for the rousing of public sympathy.

He added that his present advices were that prospects of a direct settlement were somewhat favorable.

  1. Victor Chitsai Hoo, Chinese Minister in Switzerland.