Craigie-Arita Agreement

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Publication.png Craigie-Arita AgreementRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Author(s) • Great Britain
• Japan
Subjectswar,  peace
A British-Japanese treaty that might contain secret clauses

The Craigie-Arita Agreement, also known as the Craigie-Arita Formula was a treaty between the British Empire and the Japanes Empire, where the British sided entirely with the Japanese against China, and possibly the Soviet Union. At very same the time, the Japanese were instigating full-scale border battles against Soviet forces in Khalkin-Gol.

It was named after the British Ambassador to Tokyo Sir Robert Craigie and Japanese Foreign Minister Hachiro Arita. The Russian historian Valentin Falin speculates that the rather short agreement might contain secret clauses, which theoretically could be declassified by Britain in 2020.

The Text

 "The British government fully recognise the actual situation in China, where hostilities on a large scale are in progress and note that, as long as that state of affairs continues to exist, the Japanese forces in China have special requirements for the purpose of safe-guarding their own security and maintaining public order in the regions under their control, and they have to take the necessary steps in order to suppress or remove any such acts or causes as will obstruct them or benefit their enemy. The British Government,therefore, will refrain from all acts and measures which will interfere with the Japanese forces in attaining their above mentioned objects”. [1]

Geopolitical background

The Chinese leader, Chiang Kai-shek, considered the Craigie-Arita Formula a unforgivable betrayal by the British, which had mouthed opposition against the Japanese invasion of China but yet this agreement obviously showed a greater interest in safeguarding British Far Eastern territorial possessions rather than its interest in helping China maintain its sovereignty. [2]

War was in the air, and the diplomatic game in Europe was in high gear. The British and French were at the time in lacklustre negotiations with the Soviet Union, which led nowhere. The Craigie-Arita Agreement would have contributed to Soviet suspicions of being set up for a two-front war with Germany and Japan. The Soviet-German agreement (Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) was signed one month later, on 23 August 1939.