793.94/14622: Telegram

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

10. My telegram No. 8, January 17, 10 p.m. I was informed in strict confidence by a member of the Chinese delegation that the Chinese delegation presented the following draft resolution to a secret session of a Council Subcommittee this afternoon which consisted of France, Great Britain, Yugoslavia, U. S. S. R., [and] China, with Munters (Latvian) as President: [Page 332]

“Part I. The Council,

Referring to its report adopted on September 30, 1938,29 relating to the appeal of the Chinese Government;

Recalling the terms of the resolutions adopted by the Assembly on October 6, 193730 and by the Council on February 231 and on May 14, 1938,32 notably those of the Assembly resolution of October 6, 1937 which expresses its moral support for China, and recommends that members of the League should refrain from taking any action which might have the effect of weakening China’s power of resistance and thus of increasing her difficulties in the present conflict, and should also consider how far they can individually extend aid to China;

Having heard the statement of the Chinese representative in regard to the present situation in the Far East, and outlining certain proposals of the Chinese Government;

Taking note of the fact that a number of states have been taking individual action in aiding China;

Invites the member states, particularly those directly concerned in the Far East, to institute a committee for the study and coordination of effective measures respectively of aid to China and of pressure against the aggressor, including the following:

Economic and financial assistance to China for certain purposes including the development of the Southwestern Provinces of China and the relief of Chinese refugees;
Removal of restrictions prejudicial to the transport and transit of arms, munitions, or other war materials destined for China;
Embargo on arms, munitions, aeroplanes, petroleum, iron and other materials essential for Japanese war purposes; and
Prohibiting of the importation of goods or products of Japanese origin or manufacture.

Part II. The Council,

Recalling the terms and principles of the Nine Power Treaty and of other international agreements to which a number of states, including China and Japan, are parties;

Reaffirming the principle of the sanctity of treaties;

Taking note of the statement of the Chinese representative in which he referred to the American note of December 31, 1938, and the British note of January 14, 1939, which the two Governments respectively addressed to the Japanese Government:

Repudiating Japan’s claim to establish a “new order” in the Far East;
Confirming the fact that the Nine Power Treaty constitutes “an arrangement for safeguarding, for the benefit of all, the correlated principles on the one hand of national integrity and on the other hand of equality of economic opportunity”;
Stating the intention “to adhere to the principles of the Nine Power Treaty”:

Declares that the claims of the Japanese Government to establish a new order in the Far East prejudicial to the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of China and to the equality of opportunity of all nations in commerce and industry are incompatible with the principles of the Nine Power Treaty of Washington and other international instruments to which Japan is a party, and also detrimental to the general interests of peace.”

My informant stated that British and French opposed part I of the draft, particularly proposal for committee, and points 3 and 4. They appeared, however, prepared to accept a reiteration of the recommendation of the Council of February 2, 1938, with the omission, however, of any reference to “consulting with other similarly interested powers.”

British and French also rewriting part II as a whole. They specifically objected to reference to American and British notes on grounds that this would embarrass American Government and might prejudice current diplomatic negotiations (French note to Japan was said to be on its way).

Subcommittee meets tomorrow at 3 o’clock further to consider the entire matter.

  1. See telegram No. 259, September 30, 1938, 11 p.m., from the Consul at Geneva, Foreign Relations, 1938, vol. iii, p. 517; for text of report, see League of Nations, Official Journal, November 1938, p. 878.
  2. See Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. i, pp. 384 and 394.
  3. See telegram No. 38, February 2, 1938, 4 p.m., from the Consul at Geneva, Foreign Relations, 1938, vol. iii, p. 503.
  4. See telegram No. 95, May 14, 1938, 10 p.m., from the Consul at Geneva, ibid., p. 505.