The Sino-Japanese Crisis in Manchuria
Intervention of the League of Nations Council
The council of the League of Nations has been called to meet at Paris, November 16, for its third emergency session on the Manchurian crisis. This meeting may consider the application of sanctions against a great power for the first time in the history of the League if the pressure of world opinion for the restoration of peace in the Far East proves ineffective.
At the conclusion of its first meeting on the Manchurian crisis, September 30, 1931, the Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling upon China and Japan to take the necessary steps to avoid aggravating the situation and to hasten a restoration of normal relations. At the conclusion of its second meeting, October 24, which had been attended by an official representative of the United States, the Council adopted a resolution “calling upon” Japan to begin immediately the withdrawal of its troops to the railway zone and to complete the movement by November 16. The resolution “called upon” China to safeguard the lives and property of Japanese subjects outside the railway zone, under the supervision of representatives of the powers. And it “recommended” negotiations for settlement of their differences between China and Japan, through a board of conciliation or otherwise, after the Japanese forces had been withdrawn.
Japanese troops pressed northward thereafter, engaging in a three-day battle, November 4–6, with Chinese troops at the Nonni River bridgehead, 350 miles north of Mukden. The scene of this operation was not far removed from the Russian “sphere of influence” in North Manchuria. The engagement brought a sharp note from Aristide Briand, president of the League Council, dated November 6, and addressed to both China and Japan, warning that: “The extension of the incidents toward northern Manchuria is serious [and] …cannot but increase the anxiety of the Council and public opinion.”