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60 Mr M. MacDonald, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Mr J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister

Circular Dispatch B94 LONDON, 24 August 1937

With reference to my Confidential Circular despatch B No. 79 of the 23rd July [1], I have the honour to transmit the accompanying copy of a despatch to His Majesty's Representative at Tokyo, Washington and Peking reporting upon a further conversation with a representative of the United States Embassy in London, in regard to the proposals for a Pacific non-aggression pact.

2. In this connection I also enclose a copy of a despatch from His Majesty's Representative at Tokyo on the subject. [2]


1 Document 56.

2 Not printed. It was on the Davis proposal for neutralisation of the Pacific, not the Lyons Pacific Pact proposal.


Viscount Halifax, U.K. Acting Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to U.K. Representatives at Tokyo, Washington, Peking

Dispatch 400, 770, 460 resp. LONDON, 11 August 1937

With reference to the Secretary of State's despatch NO.

302/540/313 of the 19th June [1], I desire to inform Your Excellency/you that Mr Herschel Johnson [2] of the United States Embassy called on Sir Robert Vansittart [3]to continue the conversation which Sir Alexander Cadogan had with Mr Ray Atherton on the 16th June [4] on the subject of a non-aggression pact for the Pacific area. He informed Sir Robert that he had been authorised to convey the views of his government on the matter to him informally and orally.

2. He said that the ideas underlying the proposed pact as outlined to Mr Atherton by Sir Alexander Cadogan, would appear to include the principles both of a nine-power pact of non-aggression in the Pacific containing a consultative provision and providing for the outlawing of war, and an extension of the present four-power treaty [5] between the United States, Great Britain, France and Japan, relating to their insular possessions in the Pacific. In the absence of information to the contrary, the Department of State would assume that these ideas still formed the basis of the pact which His Majesty's Government have under consideration.

3. Mr Johnson said that the State Department concurred in the view that in any such pact the attitude of the Japanese Government constituted the most vital factor. They thought that as His Majesty's Government had the matter under consideration and in view of the projected Anglo-Japanese conversations, it would be best for those two governments to continue their discussions until they reached some conclusion without any expression from the United States Government of their views on the subject. The Japanese would thus not be given the impression that there was any form of collusion between the British and United States Governments in the matter. In view of the wellknown opinions of the United States Government on the subject of peace and political and economic stabilisation, it would appear most useful for that government to adopt a watchful attitude, without as yet expressing any views on the question. When His Majesty's Government had ascertained the Japanese views on the proposed Pacific pact and had communicated them to the Department of State, the Department would probably be able to give His Majesty's Government an indication of its views on the matter.

4. The views of the Department as above outlined were, said Mr Johnson, based on a desire not to obstruct and be as helpful as practicable toward furthering principles of policy in which the United States Government believed and which they constantly sought to have translated into practice.

5. A despatch in similar terms is being addressed to His Majesty's Representatives at Washington and Peking/Peking and Tokyo/Washington and Tokyo.

N. B. RONALD (for Lord Halifax)

[AA : A981, PACIFIC 23]

1 Not printed. It surnmarised the conversation between Cadogan and Atherton referred to below.

2 Counsellor, U.S. Embassy in London.

3 Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

4 See enclosure to Document 56.

5 See Document 33, note 9.

[AA : A981, PACIFIC 23]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History