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

Cablegram unnumbered GENEVA, 3 October 1937, 5.31 p.m


For your own information only.

Long meeting of Sub-committee ended midnight Saturday [1]
discussed in detail memorandum by the League of Nations
Secretariat on the situation under three heads:-

(a) Facts with regard to the Japanese actions in China.

(b) Whether such actions constitute a breach of the Japanese
obligations under the Boxer protocol [2], of [sic] [3] the
Washington Treaties [4] and [the Treaty] of Paris. [5]

(c) Whether any justification for the Japanese actions on the
grounds of self-defence.

The result of this examination now being considered and, findings
will be discussed at meeting tomorrow morning. Clear will have to
be down the lines that the Japanese actions far in excess of
anything warranted by the situation, constitute the violation of
treaty obligations and not justified on the grounds of self-
defence. Probable at tomorrow's meeting the Sub-committee will
also consider what action should be recommended in face of the
findings. Present indications will be down the lines that further
attempts at conciliations should be made, frank statement that, in
view of the Japanese relations to the League of Nations, this
cannot be undertaken by the League, recommendation for meeting of
Powers, parties to the Nine Powers Pact, to consider the
possibility of conciliation and, if this impracticable, to
consider whether any other action could be usefully taken. The
League indicates its preparedness to co-operate in any practicable
way in the efforts of conciliation or any other action suggested.

The above is the present position, but as now the subject of
conversation between the British representatives at Geneva and
London may be drastically revised before tomorrow. The dominating
point is that the British are determined not to be forced into any
action that the United States not equally committed to.


1. 2 October 1937.

2. The Boxer protocol of 7 September 1901 provided that China
should make reparation to the foreign powers whose interests had
suffered in the Boxer rebellion and should guarantee those powers
access to China in the future.

3. ?Or.

4. See Document 33, note 9.

5. The Pact of Paris or the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 27 August 1928,
by which the signatories (including Japan) renounced war as an
instrument of national policy.

[AA : A981, CHINA 114, ix]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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