The Chargé in France (Wilson) to the Secretary of State
[Received January 17—3:40 p.m.]
102. The new chief of the Far Eastern Division of the Foreign Office, Chauvel, showed me this morning their cable sent to the French Ambassador67 at Tokyo on January 14 containing the text of the note to be transmitted to the Japanese Government at a date to be determined by the French Ambassador after consultation with his British colleague. The Foreign Office has not yet received word that the note has been delivered. It is planned to publish the note 24 hours after delivery. Chauvel told me that the text had been cabled to Saint-Quentin68 who has presumably shown it to the Department.
Chauvel also showed me a copy of the note sent by the French Foreign Office on January 14 to the British Embassy here, communicating the text of the note cabled that day to the French Ambassador at Tokyo, and explaining the reasons for its brevity. The French thought it desirable to confine their note mainly to an affirmation of the principle that treaties cannot be set aside by unilateral act. They thought it unwise to request, as the British had done, a detailed exposition of Japanese policy towards China, feeling that this might lead to an international negotiation with the Japanese and that before inviting such negotiation there should be prior consultation and agreement on a program between the other powers particularly between Great Britain, the United States and France.
The British in a communication to the French January 7 had proposed that the other signatories of the Nine Power Treaty should be requested to take similar action to that taken by the United States, Great Britain and France. The French in their reply January 14 questioned the wisdom of this, pointing out that Italy would certainly decline to take such action. The French, however, said that they would be prepared to have the British and French notes to the Japanese, and if possible the American note also, officially transmitted to the other signatories of the Washington Treaty.[Page 352]
Chauvel likewise showed me a note handed him yesterday by the Chinese Chargé d’Affaires setting out the inability of the Chinese Government to continue to make advances to cover service on the Chinese customs secured loans.69 The Foreign Office intends to ask Corbin70 in London to inquire what the British propose doing about this situation and they will probably ask Saint-Quentin to make a similar inquiry at the State Department.