The British Embassy to the Department of State

In 1939 conversations were held between officers of the State Department and members of the staff of the British Embassy about the China Consortium.11 It was agreed at that time that there was no need to discuss the dissolution of the Consortium.

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation is about to suggest to the American group within the Consortium that the Agreement of 192012 should now be regarded as at an end. His Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs13 has been advised that the Consortium Agreement was discharged by the operation of law by reason of the outbreak of war between Japan on the one hand and the United States of America and the United Kingdom on the other. His Majesty’s Government presume that the United States Government will share their view that the time is now opportune to dissolve the Consortium.
The French group will be informed of this suggestion and their agreement will be invited. It would appear to be unnecessary to say anything about the matter to the Chinese Government, who were not originally consulted, but His Majesty’s Government would be glad to learn the views of the United States Government on this point.
  1. See memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations, August 2, 1939, the British Embassy’s note of August 21, and the Department’s reply of August 29, Foreign Relations, 1939, vol. iii, pp. 734 and 735.
  2. Signed at New York, October 15, 1920, by the British, French, Japanese, and American banking groups, Foreign Relations, 1920, vol. i, p. 576.
  3. Ernest Bevin.