65 Mr J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister, to Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London

Cablegram unnumbered 24 September 1937,

Your telegram of 22nd September, Advisory Committee Sino-Japanese dispute. [1]

Your proposal made in course of Assembly speech was to my mind a reasonable and practical proposal to bring about a settlement of the dispute. It, however, was unfortunately not accepted by the League, and steps cannot now be retraced as invitations have already been issued for the League Committee.

As I see it we cannot avoid acceptance of the invitation, and indeed must indicate our willingness to co-operate in any proposal advanced because any qualification or reservation of acceptance of invitation along lines that your proposal would be more efficacious or that other methods would be more practicable would tend to bring Committee into disrepute and nullify its efforts at the outset.

You assume that Italy and Germany will refuse invitation and that United States will not fully co-operate on ostensible ground that it is a League Committee but it seems probable to me that first two Powers would refuse to attend Conference of Powers along lines of your proposal whether called under aegis of League or by, say, Great Britain and France, while Japan would certainly reject either proposal. The Powers calling conference would moreover be suspect and if any invitations were refused, as is likely, then Conference probably would be no more productive of concrete results than League Committee.

In circumstances it is felt you should accept the invitation on behalf of Commonwealth Government without qualification and act as its representative unless the situation further develops or new considerations arise which might necessitate reconsideration of the whole matter.

LYONS

1 Document 64.

[AA : A981, CHINA 114, ix]