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

Cablegram unnumbered BRUSSELS, 12 November 1937, 10.02 p.m.

MOST SECRET

Japanese reply [1] has been fully considered in private discussions to-day between the United Kingdom, United States, France and the Dominions.

The probable procedure when the Conference meets tomorrow at the morning meeting will be speeches by the United Kingdom, United States and France which will be given to the Press stressing the importance of rules of law in international relations and peaceful methods of settling disputes, and deploring the Japanese action as a blow to these principles. The Italian attitude uncertain, but probably out of line with the rest of the Conference. After these speeches an attempt will be made to obtain the agreement of the Conference to a Press communique refuting certain contentions of Japan, embodying some points from the speeches and indicating an adjournment for a week to enable the Governments to consider and consult with regard to the situation created by the Japanese reply.

1 The Japanese reply was presented to the Brussels Conference in a memorandum dated 12 November 1937, which stated in part:

'The Imperial Government adheres strictly to the view that its present action, being one of self defence and forced upon Japan by the challenge of China, lies outside the scope of the Nine-Power Treaty. It is certainly impossible for it to accept an invitation to a conference convened in accordance with the stipulations of the treaty, after Japan has been accused of having violated its terms.' For the full text of this note see Keesing's Contemporary Archives, 1937-40, 2817F.

[AA : A981, CHINA 116] BRUCE