793.94 Conference/187: Telegram

The Chairman of the American Delegation (Davis) to the Secretary of State

17. At meeting at Belgian Foreign Office this morning there were present M. Spaak and delegates of United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Soviet Union.

M. Spaak proposed that the Conference should at its next meeting examine the Japanese and the German replies to Belgian Government’s invitation. Delegates of United States, United Kingdom, [Page 157] France, Netherlands, and Portugal supported this proposal. The Italian delegate took the position that so far as Sino-Japanese controversy was concerned this would serve no useful purpose and the Conference should simply suggest to the two parties that they negotiate and come to an agreement. Soviet delegate merely commented that Japan would refuse another invitation if extended. Majority opinion was that contentions advanced in Japanese reply that the conflict was of no concern to the powers other than Japan and China should not be let stand without appropriate affirmation of the interest and concern of the other powers. Consensus of opinion was reached that there should be created a small committee to deal with this question and perhaps subsequently that of offering good offices.

This subject was discussed at private session of Conference this afternoon, several other powers supporting and Italy taking obstructive position.

The view that Japan should again be approached under article 7 of the Nine Power Treaty tentatively prevailed.

Agreement has not yet been reached on composition of small committee.

We have been discussing this last point with other delegates. The British and we agree that committee composed of United Kingdom, United States, and Belgium would be theoretically desirable. However, both France and Italy seemed to feel that they should be represented. We are still considering this, also question whether several other governments should not be represented, with the idea that the committee, once constituted, could in turn create a smaller subcommittee.