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109 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Prime Minister's Department

Cablegram unnumbered BRUSSELS, 22 November 1937

Conference on resumption today considered two documents submitted jointly by the United Kingdom, United States and France after discussion with the other delegations including the Dominions.

(i) Factual objective summary of the work of the Conference-

This was considered and substantially approved.

(ii) Following declaration-

'The Nine Powers Treaty is a conspicuous example of the numerous international instruments by which Nations of the world enunciate certain principles and accept certain self-denying rules in their conduct with each other, solemn undertakings to respect the sovereignty of the other Nations, to refrain from seeking political or economic domination of the other Nations, and to abstain from interference in their internal affairs.

These international instruments constitute a framework within which international security and international peace are safeguarded without resorting to arms and within which international relationship can subsist on the basis of mutual trust, goodwill and beneficial trade and financial relations.

It must be recognised whenever armed force is employed in disregard of these principles the whole structure of relations based upon the safeguards provided for treaties is disturbed and the nations are compelled to seek security in ever-increasing armaments, and such action on the part of any nation creates everywhere a feeling of uncertainty and insecurity. The validity of these principles cannot be destroyed by force, their universal applicability cannot be denied and their indispensability to civilisation cannot be gainsaid.

It was in accordance with these principles that this Conference was called in Brussels for the purposes as set forth in terms of the invitation issued by Belgium "of examining in conformity with Article VII of the Nine Powers Treaty the situation in the Far East and of studying peaceable means of hastening an end of the regrettable conflict which prevails there".

Since its opening session on 3rd November the Conference has continuously striven to promote conciliation and has endeavoured to secure the co-operation of the Japanese Government in the hope of arresting hostilities and bringing about a settlement. The details of this endeavour are set out in the report on its activities which the Conference is making to the Governments.

As there appears to be at present no opportunity for the Conference further to carry out its terms of reference it has decided that it is advisable that it should temporarily suspend its sitting. It must be understood that this action in no way implies any diminution of the interest of the Powers assembled in Brussels in the situation in the Far East. It continues to be of interest to all and of vital concern to some. Most of them are signatories of a treaty binding them to take counsel together in a situation such as that which now exists and none of them can dissociate themselves from the course of events in the Far East.

The signatories of the treaty all took certain obligations regarding the rights of China at the same time that they sought to safeguard their own interests.

The Conference is convinced that no solution forcibly imposed by one nation upon another can settle in a just and lasting manner disputes between nations and it continues to believe that it would be to the ultimate interest of both parties to the present dispute to avail themselves of the assistance of others in an effort to bring hostilities to an early end as a necessary preliminary to the achievement of a general and lasting settlement. The eventual settlement in order that it may win general assent must take account of the various interests concerned and the Conference believes that this cannot be achieved by direct negotiations of the parties to the conflict alone but that consultation with others principally interested is necessary in order to secure acceptance by all interested parties which alone can ensure that the settlement be just and lasting. This Conference strongly re- affirms the principle of the Nine Power Treaty as being amongst the basic principles which are essential to world peace and orderly progressive development of national and international life.

The Conference believes that a prompt suspension of hostilities in the Far East would be in the best interests not only of China and Japan but of all nations and that with each day's continuance of the conflict loss in lives and property is bound to increase and the ultimate solution of the conflict to become more difficult.

The Conference therefore strongly urges China and Japan to suspend hostilities and resort to a peaceful process.

The Conference believes that no possible steps to bring about by peaceful process a settlement of the conflict should be overlooked or be omitted.

In order to allow time for participating Governments to exchange views and further explore all peaceful methods by which settlement of dispute may be attained consistently with the principle of the Nine Powers Treaty and in conformity with the objectives of that Treaty the Conference has taken its decision to suspend for the present its sitting.

The Conference will be called together again whenever its Chairman or any two of its members shall have reported that they consider its deliberations can be advantageously resumed.' Above text will be discussed at next meeting Wednesday afternoon and probably accepted with amendment to wording but not to substance.


[ANL : PAGE 677]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History