Skip to main content

Historical documents

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

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


[ANL : PAGE 677]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top