The Belgian Government "in response to the request of the British Government and with the approval of the American Government" issued to the parties to the Nine Power Treaty an invitation to attend a conference at Brussels for the purpose "of examining in accordance with Article VII of the Nine Power Treaty, the situation in the Far East and to study peaceable methods-for hastening the end of the regrettable conflict now taking place there." Also, after consulting other powers to the Treaty, it issued similar invitations to the Soviet Union and Germany.
All parties to the Nine Power Treaty, except Japan, accepted the invitation.
Also, the Soviet Union accepted. Japan declined and Germany declined.
By this time it was realized that the task given to the Brussels Conference had been made additionally difficult by the fact that the League and the American Government had already delivered judgment upon Japan's course.
The American Delegate to the Conference received instructions in the form
of a written instruction from the Secretary of State; an informal memorandum;
oral instructions given by the President and the Secretary of State at the White
House; and oral instructions given by the President at Hyde Park. The general
purport of all of these instructions was to the effect that the policy to be
followed must be consistent with the principles and provisions of the Nine Power
Treaty and the general principles of American foreign policy as laid down especially
in public statements of the Secretary of State and the President. There was
no provision that any positive methods of pressure should or might be discussed
at the Conference; but there was also no express provision that such method
should not be discussed, provided, however, that previously every effort to
bring about mediation had been exhausted. In the written instruction, attention
as called not only to the terms of the Belgian Government's invitation but also
to statements of the Secretary of State and to the President's address at Chicago
of October 5. In the conversations at the White House and at Hyde Park, especially
the latter, the President emphasized to the American Delegate the view that
if we are to avoid an ultimate serious clash with Japan some practical means
must be found to check Japan's career of conquest and to make effective the
collective will of those powers which desire that principles of law and order
shall prevail and controversies between nations be regulated and settled by
peaceful means rather than by use of armed force. The resident emphasized the
importance of mobilising moral force in all peace-loving nations and suggested
a strategy of calling upon Japan repeatedly to come into conference and seek
means for desisting from hostilities and submitting the issues between herself
and China to peaceful processes of settlement. He suggested that the Conference
might be given a prolonged life and that it might be made an agency or informing
and educating public opinion by way of bringing to bear upon Japan every moral
pressure directed toward bringing bout a change in Japan's attitude and policy.
Also, he suggested at the Delegation observe closely the trend of public opinion
in the United States and take full account thereof. He realized the difficulties
before us but hoped that the Conference might nonetheless produce constructive
results either in its influence on Japan or in mobilising public opinion.
The outstanding achievements of the Conference were as follows: 1. Exchanging of views, among nineteen governments, enabling the delegates of each-and through them their governments-to obtain knowledge of the attitude and position of the others;
2. Demonstration of the unwillingness of Japan to resort to methods of conciliation;
3. Clarification of the fact that the Japanese continue to insist that the issues between Japan and China are exclusive to those two countries whereas the Conference Powers with the exception of Italy deny this and affirm that the situation is of concern to all of them and in fact to all members of the Family of Nations;
4. Express reaffirmation by the Conference Powers with the exception of Italy of the principles of the Nine Power Treaty.
5. Express serving of notice that the settlement ultimately arrived at must be consistent with the principles of the Nine Power Treaty and satisfactory to the Conference Powers;
6. Express serving of notice that the Conference Powers will continue to concern themselves with the situation and that the Conference is not ended but is in recess and is subject to re-convocation.
Source: U.S., Department of State, Publication 1983, Peace and War: United States Foreign Policy, 1931-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S., Government Printing Office, 1943, pp. 398-400.
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