Foreign Relations of the United States
The Secretary of State to the French Ambassador (Claudel)

The Secretary of State to the French (Claudel) (1)

A week ago when the issues which had arisen in Manchuria between China and Russia were causing anxiety throughout the world, I took the liberty of pointing out, through you to your governments, the immeasurable harm which would be done to the cause of world peace should a clash between those great nations occur at the very moment when the nations of the world were assembling to celebrate a solemn covenant between themselves never to resort to war but to settle all disputes by pacific means. I suggested that, inasmuch as both Russia and China had signed this covenant, it could not be inappropriate to bring to their attention the seriousness of this situation and to urge upon them that they find some way of settling their disputes by pacific means.

The response of your governments has been most cordial and unanimous. Friendly representations have been made to both China and Russia and each of these nations has averred that it did not intend to resort to war.

Unfortunately, the situation between them still remains difficult and gives rise to much apprehension in respect to an ultimate peaceful solution of their controversy. Diplomatic relations having been severed, the normal bridge by which they might approach each other for that purpose no longer exists. Popular feelings of intensity upon each side have been excited and an ill-considered act of even a subordinate commander upon either side of the boundary might easily precipitate a situation fraught with serious consequences to the entire world.

Under these circumstances, if a road with honor out of their difficulties can be suggested to these sister nations, who have joined with us in this solemn compact of Peace and who have just signified their desire to maintain it, even in the perplexities which confront them at the present time, it seems that it should be done.

I do not suggest mediation by any nation or group of nations. Such a course would have its difficulties and might excite unfounded suspicion. I suggest a way by which Russia and China themselves in the exercise of their own sovereign action may create the machinery for conciliation and thus bring about an ultimate settlement of their present dispute, based upon the only foundation upon which such a lasting settlement can be constructed, namely, a full and impartial investigation of the facts. It is not a new suggestion. Even today two of our sister nations of South America (2) are in that way working out their own solution of a serious controversy into which they drifted nearly two years ago. In their case this method of solution was suggested to them by a conference of American nations meeting under the auspices of the Pan American Union.

I have therefore, taken the liberty of putting into writing a suggestion of such a step for Russia and China. I should be glad if you would refer it to your governments. If, after carefully considering it and suggesting any criticisms, they will join my Government m suggesting it to China and Russia as a possible way in which they may start on the road to a settlement by themselves of their own difficulties, I should be most happy.

The press despatches this morning have reported a meeting between consular representatives of China and Russia which it is hoped may possibly lead to a resumption of diplomatic relations between them. I hope sincerely that these reports may prove to be correct. But until such a solution is more definitely hopeful, I venture to present these suggestions for your consideration, since I am sure that the nations which you represent, all earnestly desirous of peace, will wish to be prepared to take any helpful initiative should this prove necessary in the maintenance of peace between China and Russia.




Pending the investigation mentioned below both countries agree to commit no act of hostility against the other country or its nationals and to prevent their armed forces from crossing the boundaries of their respective countries.

Pending such investigation the regular operation of the Chinese Eastern Railway will be restored and carried on, the interests of both Russia and China in said Railway being guarded by the appointment as President and General Manager with full powers, of a prominent national of some neutral country approved by both China and Russia, and by the recognition and continuance in their respective positions as directors under the agreement of May 31, 1924 of the five Russian and the five Chinese appointees.

Pending such investigation the obligations upon both China and Russia of the treaty of 1924, including particularly the obligation of the mutual covenants contained in said treaty-"not to permit within their respective territories the existence and/or activities of any organizations or groups whose aim is to struggle by acts of violence against the governments of either contracting party" and "not to engage in propaganda directed against the political and social systems of either contracting party" will continue in full force and effect.

The grievances and claims of both countries shall be investigated by an impartial commission of conciliation the membership of which shall be agreed upon by Russia and China and which shall have full power to investigate all the facts concerning such grievances and claims and to render to both countries and make public its conclusions both as to the facts and as to any suggested remedies for the future.

(1) At 11:30 a. m., July 25, 1929, the Secretary of State read this aide-memoire to the British, French, Italian, and Japanese Ambassadors and the German Charge, and handed them each a copy. Back

(2) Bolivia anal Paraguay; see vol. I, pp. 818 ff. Back

Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States
(in Three Volumes)
Volume II
Department of State Publication 2033
Washington, DC : Government Printing Office, 1943
127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.