793.94 Advisory Committee/153: Telegram

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

144. In a public session of the Council this afternoon Koo made a statement concerning the Sino-Japanese conflict along the lines of the statement made at previous sessions laying particular emphasis on Japanese bombardment of Chinese civilian population. He concluded by requesting the Council to adopt the following proposals:

A recommendation to the member states to extend financial and material aid to China and assistance for Chinese refugees; to refrain from doing anything which may weaken China’s powers of resistance; to withhold from Japan the supply of instruments of war and raw materials particularly airplanes and oil; and to restrict the importation of Japanese goods and adopt other measures of commercial retaliation against Japan’s violation of the treaty rights of member states.
The setting up of a committee to coordinate the foregoing measures.
The further implementing of the Assembly and Council resolutions already adopted with a view to extending aid to China and restraining the aggressor.

In addition Koo requested the Council to take steps to constitute an international committee to inquire into the cases of bombardment of the civilian population and submit the report to the Council for consideration and study of measures designed to stop this crime.

He referred gratefully to American support of Chinese currency and to cooperation of American manufacturers in refraining from shipping planes to Japan in accordance with the “advice” of the American Government.43

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The British and French representatives maintained their previous position on similar Chinese proposals and while expressing great sympathy for China and asserting their intention to fulfill the obligations already assumed in previous League resolutions stated that they were not in a position in view of their grave responsibilities elsewhere to accept new commitments as regards China. The Russian representative supported the Chinese proposal saying,

“It is now being more and more universally recognized even by those who were previously skeptical that the only way to put an end to the further developments of lawlessness and chaos in international relations which in the end must inevitably lead to a general war spreading over all Europe and probably over the whole world is by firm resistance to aggression. From this it follows naturally that every victim of aggression should be rendered the maximum assistance and support it is possible to give. This is not only the attitude of my country but it is the growing conviction of other governments also.”

He referred to recent statements of the British Prime Minister registering adherence to the principle of helping victims of aggression who are putting up an active resistance for their independence and said that this principle was fully applicable in the case of China and that the Chinese proposals should be given the maximum sympathetic consideration especially “by those powers which support the above principle.” He then adjourned the discussion for further consultation with members of the Council.

  1. See circular letter of July 1, 1938, Foreign Relations, Japan, 1931–1941, vol. ii, p. 201.