Letter from Sir [Joseph] Austen Chamberlain (Buckland, Faringdon, Berkshire) to WSC, acknowledging two notes from WSC [of 25th and 26th November], and admitting that he had forgotten an approach to the Prime Minister [Stanley Baldwin] by Josiah Wedgwood. Chamberlain says that he had instead been thinking of his own and WSC's request to Baldwin, to be allowed to lay their views before him, and adds that he would send a note of apology [to Wedgwood].
Chamberlain also refers to a declaration sent to him by WSC [see CHAR 2/286/57], explaining that 1st Lord Cecil of Chelwood [President of the League of Nations Union] had already invited him to sign it, but he had declined, as after serving with Cecil and others on the Union Committee, which had been a very compromising experience, Chamberlain preferred to keep his freedom. He also explains that he couldn't commit himself to such an unqualified statement [on the League preventing aggression] so long as Germany and Japan were out of the League of Nations, Italy's attitude uncertain, and Soviet policy so open to suspicion. He says that he could not support military action in all cases, and although he agreed in principle [that the League should establish machinery for preventing war], he didn't see how it could be effected without a further split which would practically destroy the League. He concludes by explaining that he didn't want to get into controversy with WSC or Cecil, and had only given his reasons so that WSC should not think him careless or indifferent to these great issues. Signed manuscript.