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Chronology 1931

Date Event Historical Background
January 1931 Persian Agricultural Law The Persian government passed a law forbidding foreigners to own agricultural land in Persia. This legislation marked the beginning of increased Persian control over foreign economic relations.
January-February 1931 Bulgarian-Greek Border Clashes New border incidents between Bulgaria and Greece led to a tense situation which required the intervention of regional powers to mediate the crisis.
January 12, 1931 Allied Military Control Committee Dissolved The Allied Military Control Committee, which oversaw the demobilization of German military forces after World War I, was disbanded.
January 15-February 23, 1931 Twentieth Session of the Permanent Court of International Justice The Permanent Court of International Justice held its twentieth session in the Hague.
January 19-24, 1931 Sixty-Second League Council Session The League of Nations Council held its sixty-second session in Geneva.
January 22, 1931 Anglo-Iraqi Treaty Presented to League The British and Iraqi governments presented the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty to the League of Nations, which paved the way for the end of the mandate and Iraq's entry into the League.
January 26, 1931 Release of Gandhi The Indian government released Mohandas K. Gandhi from prison and at the request of the British Viceroy, Baron Irwin, began negotiations regarding the future of India.
February 1931 Nationalization of Indo-European Telegraph The Persian government took over control of the telegraph lines in Persia of the Indo-European Telegraph Company. At the same time, the Persian government imposed more rigid control over all foreign trade, although private enterprise was still permitted.
February 23-25, 1931 European Union Conference on the Sale of Cereal Stocks The League of Nations supported the Conference on European Union in Paris to promote grain sales in central Europe.
February 23-March 19, 1931 Second International Conference on the Unification of Laws on Bills of Exchange, Promissory Notes, and Checks The League of Nations sponsored a second conference on the unification of laws pertaining to bills of exchange, promissory notes, and checks in Geneva in an attempt to restore international trade.
February 26-28, 1931 Conference to Study Ways to Prevent Agricultural Overproduction To raise grain prices, the League of Nations sponsored a conference of agricultural experts in Paris to develop means to eliminate agricultural surpluses.
March-October 1931 Royal Siamese Visit to U.S. King Rama VII of Siam visited the United States to receive an eye operation.
March 4, 1931 Delhi Pact/Irwin-Gandhi Pact The negotiations between Mohandas K. Gandhi and Lord Irwin resulted in the Delhi Pact. Gandhi promised that the Indian National Congress would attend future Round-Table Conferences and end civil disturbances. In exchange, the British agreed to free all political prisoners who were not guilty of violent acts. This agreement marked the end of the Indian Nationalists' second passive resistance campaign.
March 4-7, 1931 Conference of Central Police Officials for Counterfeiting Repression To combat currency counterfeiting, the League of Nations held a conference in Geneva, inviting national police officials to determine a program to suppress the practice.
March 8, 1931 Soviet-Turkish Naval Agreement The Soviet and Turkish governments signed a naval agreement freezing the size of their Black Sea fleets. The treaty contained a proviso that either country could expand their naval forces after a six month notice.
March 16-18, 1931 Second International Conference on Concerted Economic Action/Second Session Economic and financial analysts returned to Geneva for the second session of the League of Nation's Second Conference on Concerted Economic Action.
March 16-30, 1931 European Conference on Road Traffic In an effort to unify European traffic laws, the League of Nations hosted a conference in Geneva to address European transportation issues.
March 17, 1931 Collapse of the Tariff Truce Convention In light of the continuing global depression, efforts to reduce tariff barriers to promote international trade collapsed.
March 21, 1931 Austro-German Customs Union Proposal The German and Austrian governments announced plans for an Austro-German customs union as the best means to stimulate their economies. The French government and its allies (especially Czechoslovakia and Italy) immediately condemned the proposal on the grounds that the union would infringe Austrian sovereignty and was contrary to earlier treaties. The collapse of the proposed customs union contributed to a major European bank crisis.
March 26, 1931 Jordanian-Iraqi Treaty of Friendship The Transjordanian and Iraqi governments signed a Treaty of Friendship and marked an important step towards pan-Arab unity.
April 1931 End of Iraqi Kurdish Revolt Sheikh Mahmud surrendered to Iraqi forces ending the New Kurd Revolt which began in September 1930.
April 7-8, 1931 Canadian Federal-Provincial Conference Federal and provincial representatives met in Ottawa to discuss the implications of the Statute of Westminster on Anglo-Canadian relations. The representatives agreed that the British North American Act would remain unchanged and that laws passed by the British Parliament would not apply to Canada unless the dominion so requested.
April 13, 1931 Franco-Swiss Border Dispute The French and Swiss governments agreed to a new round of negotiations on the status of free zones on their borders under the supervision of the Permanent Court of International Justice.
April 14, 1931 Departure of Alfonso XIII of Spain After restoring the Spanish constitution in February, King Alfonso XIII departed Spain without abdicating the throne. As a result of the overwhelming Republican victory in the national elections, Alcala Zamora formed a provisional government. The departure of the king resulted in increased tensions between Spain and the Vatican as the new government introduced anti-clerical policies.
April 20-May 15, 1931 Twenty-First Session of the Permanent Court of International Justice The Permanent Court of International Justice held its twenty-first (extraordinary) session in the Hague.
April 22, 1931 Egyptian-Iraqi Treaty of Friendship The Egyptian and Iraqi governments signed a Treaty of Friendship which marked the advent of Egyptian relations with other Arab states and the establishment of a Pan-Arab approach to international affairs.
May 6, 1931 Soviet-Lithuanian Treaty of Friendship The Soviet and Lithuanian governments renewed the Treaty of 1926 for another five-year period. Under the terms of this agreement, the Soviet government recognized Lithuania's claim to Vilna, which was occupied by Poland.
May 11, 1931 Kredit Anstalt Failure The global recession struck the European banking system when Kredit-Anstalt in Austria failed, threatening the economic and political stability of Central Europe. The bank's collapse reflected the impractical restrictions the Successor States placed on Austrian finance and commerce and the French government's decision to withdraw short-term credit to Austria to pressure the Austrians to reject the Austro-German Customs Union plan. Despite the Austrian government's guaranty to cover the bank's foreign debts, supported by foreign exchange credit from ten of the largest central banks (arranged through the Bank of International Settlements), the panic quickly spread. Foreign funds quickly fled Germany and the Bank of France refused to provide financial support to Kredit Anstalt on political grounds. The banking crisis reflected the economic depression in Germany where more than six million workers were unemployed and contributed to the rise of Communism and National Socialism.
May 15, 1931 Quadragesimo Anno Encyclical In response to the Spanish revolution, Pope Pius XI issued an encyclical to supplement the encyclical Rerum novarum of Pope Leo XIII in 1891. Pius XI called for economic and social reforms, condemned the unjust maldistribution of wealth, and called for fundament changes in the treatment of workers, especially in terms of fair wages. The pope also continued to condemn Communism and Socialism.
May 18-23, 1931 Sixty-Third League Council Session The League of Nations Council held its sixty-third session in Geneva.
May 19, 1931 New Zealand Adoption of Voluntary Military Service The New Zealand government ended compulsory military training and established a volunteer military service, primarily for reasons of economy.
May 27, 1931 Conference for the Limitation of Manufacturing of Harmful Drugs The League of Nations hosted a conference of health officials in Geneva to reduce the manufacture and development of harmful drugs.
May 27-July 13, 1931 Conference for the Limitation of Manufacturing of Narcotics To limit the manufacture of narcotics, the League of Nations held a conference in Geneva.
May 28-June 18, 1931 Fifteenth Session of the International Labor Conference The International Labor Organization (BIT) held its fifteenth session in Geneva, under the chairmanship of Franciszek Sokal (Poland). The main issue at the session was the hours of work in coal mines.
June 1931 Italian Loan to Albania The Italian government extended a major ten-year loan to Albania. Under its terms, the Italian government supervised the loan effectively establishing Italian control over the Albanian economy.
June 8, 1931 Fourth Conference for the Scientific Study of International Relations The League of Nations continued to improve pacific relations research by hosting its fourth conference on this subject in Geneva.
June 8-10, 1931 International Studies Conference To encourage more analysis about international relations, the League of Nations hosted a conference in Copenhagen.
June 15, 1931 Russo-Polish Treaty of Friendship and Commerce The Soviet and Polish governments signed a Treaty of Friendship which included the promotion of trade between the two countries.
June 16, 1931 British Emergency Loan to Austria The Bank of England authorized the advance of 150 million schillings to the Austrian National Bank in an attempt to stem the bank panic in Europe, even though these funds were desperately needed in Britain. This banking crisis threatened to bankrupt governments, banks, and corporations around the world and the specters of Fascism and Communism mounted.
June 17-20, 1931 Conference of Experts on Diphtheria and Scarlet Fever Immunization To reduce and eventually eliminate diphtheria and scarlet fever epidemics, the League of Nations hosted a conference of medical experts in London.
June 17-20, 1931 International Conference for Vitamin Standardization To promote the standardization of vitamins, the League of Nations held a conference in London of health and medical experts.
June 18, 1931 Canadian Tariff of 1930 Increased To protect the national economy, the Canadian government decided to revise the Tariff of 1930 upward with the anticipated result of cutting off two-thirds of imports from the United States.
June 20, 1931 Hoover Debt Moratorium Proposal President Herbert Hoover of the United States proposed a debt payment moratorium of one year on all intergovernmental debt. American experts believed that an important factor in the world banking crisis was the difficult problem of transferring reparations and war debt payments between currencies. French political opposition undermined the effectiveness of the moratorium proposal.
June 24, 1931 Russo-Afghan Treaty of Neutrality The Soviet and Afghan governments signed a Treaty of Neutrality.
June 29-July 7, 1931 European Conference on Rural Hygiene To improve access to rural hygiene in Europe, the League of Nations sponsored a conference in Geneva of health officials.
July 1931 May Committee Report on the British Economy A committee of British financial experts met and issued the May Report. Due to an anticipated national deficit of 100,000 pounds for the fiscal year, they urged the government to adopt austere economic measures including a cut in unemployment (there were over two million unemployed workers in Britain at the time). The report resulted in the fall of the MacDonald government.
July 1931 Franco-Swiss Border Dispute Talks between the French and Swiss governments on the future of border free zones broke down again and the Permanent Court of International Justice agreed to render a final decision (June 1932).
July 1, 1931 Trans-African Railroad Opens The Benguella-Katanga Railway officially opened which connected Lobito Bay in Angola with Katanga in the Belgian Congo. The opening of this rail line connected Benguella to Beira in Mozambique.
July 1, 1931 Anti-Chinese Riots in Korea Serious anti-Chinese rioting erupted in Korea in response to a false report regarding a minor incident at Wanpaoshan in Manchuria. In response, the Chinese mount another boycott against Japanese goods.
July 6, 1931 Debt Moratorium After finally gaining French support, President Hoover announced that all of the important creditor governments had accepted the intergovernmental debt moratorium. While the U.S. government rejected the notion that inter-Allied war debts and reparations were connected, the European governments adopted the stand that Allied debts and reparations would stand or fall together. The delay in action on the debt moratorium contributed to the closing of all German banks by mid-July.
July 10, 1931 East Greenland Dispute The Norwegian government annexed the East Greenland coastal region, which violated Denmark's claim to the region. Norwegian fishermen had settled in the area and the Norwegians feared that the Danes might take steps to control the territory. The Danish government immediately protested against the Norwegian action and both governments agreed to argue the case before the Permanent Court of International Justice.
July 13, 1931 German Danatbank Failure The banking crisis which began in Austria spread to Germany as the Danatbank collapsed. In response to the Kredit Anstalt failure, foreign investors hastily withdrew their capital from Germany.
July 16-October 15, 1931 Twenty-Second Session of the Permanent Court of International Justice (First Meeting) The Permanent Court of International Justice held its twenty-second (extraordinary) session in the Hague.
August 1931 Plebiscite in Catalonia In response to Catalonian support for the Republican revolution, the Spanish government held a plebiscite in the region to determine popular support for the autonomy movement.
August 1, 1931 Franco-American Loan to Britain French and American bankers agreed to put together a loan to the British government in an attempt to bolster the British economy.
August 11, 1931 London Protocol on Hoover Plan Delegates met in London to implement President Herbert Hoover's debt moratorium plan in an effort to rebuild the international financial system.
August 15, 1931 French Loan to Hungary The French government extended a major loan to Hungary, which was suffering severely from the depression in Central Europe, on the condition that revisionist agitation on the part of the Hungarians would end.
August 17, 1931 Report of Japanese Officer's Death The Japanese press reported that a Japanese major was executed by Chinese soldiers in western Manchuria in June 1931. Japanese public opinion demanded immediate action against the Chinese.
August 19, 1931 Layton-Wiggin Report on the International Banking Crisis An international committee of bankers met in Basel, Switzerland to review the international banking crisis. The committee issued the Layton-Wiggin Report which called for a six-month extension of foreign credit to Germany. The Germans no longer were solvent in international transactions and could not pay full principle and interest on long- and short-term foreign debt obligations in a timely fashion.
September-December 1931 Second Round-Table Conference on India Mohandas K. Gandhi traveled to London to participate in the Second Round-Table Conference. The negotiations ended without reaching an agreement on the representation of religious and other minorities.
September 1-14, 1931 Sixty-Fourth League Council Session The League of Nations Council held its sixty-fourth session in Geneva.
September 2, 1931 Italian-Vatican Agreement A supplemental agreement to the Lateran Treaties was signed by the Italian government and the Vatican which allowed the Azione Cattolica to operate in Italy for the benefit of young people as long as the organization refrained from political activity and limited itself to religious instruction.
September 3, 1931 German and Austrian Customs Union Renounced In light of international opposition (primarily the French and their allies), the German and Austrian governments voluntarily renounced the customs union proposal.
September 3, 1931 End of King Alexander I Dictatorship King Alexander I of Yugoslavia announced the end of the dictatorship and the introduction of a new constitution which included a two-chamber parliament and the end of regional parties.
September 5, 1931 World Court Rejection of the Austro-German Customs Union The World Court, by a vote of 8-7, declared the proposal Austro-German customs union as contrary to international agreements since it would violate Austrian sovereignty.
September 7-29, 1931 Twelfth League Assembly Session The League of Nations Assembly held its twelfth session in Geneva under Paul Hymans (Belgium).
September 12, 1931 Mexican Admission to the League The Mexican government decided to join the League of Nations after years of negotiations. The League of Nations admitted Mexico as a member state of the organization on September 12th.
September 13, 1931 Styrian Coup Attempt The Heimwehr, an Austrian fascist organization, organized a coup in Styria which failed when the group was unable to gain active support from police and military units. The attempted coup was, however, a portent of things to come.
September 17, 1931 German Creditor Agreement With the German government's inability to pay its reparations obligations, Germany's creditors accepted a "stand-still" agreement, which temporarily avoided a default.
September 18, 1931 Japanese Occupation of Manchuria During night maneuvers in Shenyang (Mukden), the Kuantung army responded to explosions on the railway as an excuse for pre-concerted military operations. Japanese army leaders, acting independently of Tokyo, occupied the key Manchurian cities of Shenyang (Mukden), Changchun (Ch'ang-ch'un), and Jilin (Kirin) forcing Chinese troops to withdraw. This military action marked the beginning of an unofficial war between China and Japan, which undermined relations in the Far East.
September 19-30, 1931 Sixty-Fifth League Council Session/First Meeting The League of Nations Council held the first meeting of its sixty-fifth session in Geneva.
September 21, 1931 British Withdrawal from the Gold Standard The Bank of England went off the gold standard despite a total of 50 million pounds in credit from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Bank of France. The pound sterling fell from $4.86 to $3.49 as a result of the devaluation. Since many nations tied their national currencies to the British pound, the subsequent devaluation (especially in comparison to nations who remained on the gold standard) resulted in an export subsidy and temporarily stimulated trade. However, the overall result was that most countries eventually abandoned the gold standard, currencies devalued, and overall trade contracted exacerbating the global depression.
October 1931 Irish Public Safety Law In response to economic problems and renewed republican agitation, the Irish government made the Republican Army illegal and set up military tribunals to deal with sedition and illegal training.
October 1931 League of Ulemas Founded As a result of the Muslim Congress in Jerusalem, the League of Ulemas was founded in Constantine, Algeria. The league's goal was to advance Islamic reform and reflected the expansion of the Muslim-Arab renaissance from Tunisia to Algeria.
October 1931 Philippine Economic Status President Herbert Hoover of the United States announced that a precondition to independence for the Philippines was the establishment of economic independence of the islands.
October 3, 1931 Austrian Economic Program The Austrian National Assembly passed an austere economic program in an attempt to balance the national budget and secure a loan from the League of Nations.
October 12-24, 1931 Fourth General Conference on Communications and Transit To promote international trade, the League of Nations held its fourth general conference on communications and transportation in Geneva.
October 13-24, 1931 Sixty-Fifth League Council Session/Second Meeting The League of Nations Council held the second meeting of its sixty-fifth session in Geneva.
October 16, 1931 League Investigation in Manchuria To address the crisis in Manchuria, the League of Nations attempted to end the hostilities and invited the United States to send a representative to sit on the League Council. The Hoover administration accepted the invitation and appointed Prentiss B. Gilbert to participate in discussions related to U.S. obligations under the Kellogg-Briand Pact.
October 21-30, 1931 International Conference for the Protection and Conservation of Historical Monuments In an effort to protect and preserve historical monuments, the League of Nations sponsored a conference in Athens to develop policies to preserve art and historical treasures.
October 23-25, 1931 French Official Visit to U.S. French Premier Pierre Laval conducted a state visit to Washington, DC to meet with President Herbert Hoover. The French outlined their position on the financial crisis in Europe, arguing that Allied war debts and German reparations were directly linked. In response, President Hoover announced that when the one-year moratorium on Inter-Allied debt ended, some kind of agreement to cover the period of the business depression would be necessary.
October 30, 1931 Turco-Russian Alliance Renewed Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov visited Ankara and the Soviet and Turkish governments agreed to renew the Turco-Russian Alliance for another five years.
November-December 1931 Chinese Boycott of Japanese Goods The Japanese offensive in Manchuria resulted in a more intensive Chinese boycott of Japanese goods, which reduced Chinese imports of Japanese goods by five-sixths. Due to floods in the Long River Valley and Communist Chinese pressures, the Nationalist Chinese government was unable to launch an effective counter-attack against the Japanese in Manchuria.
November 1, 1931 One Year Armament Truce Focusing on the international financial crisis, a number of nations agreed to a one year truce on armaments expansion.
November 5, 1931-February 4, 1932 Twenty-Third Session of the Permanent Court of International Justice The Permanent Court of International Justice held its twenty-third (extraordinary) session in the Hague.
November 7, 1931 Establishment of the Chinese Soviet Republic Mao Zedong announced the establishment of the Chinese Soviet Republic in Jiangxi (Kiangsi) province.
November 9-28, 1931 Conference for the Suppression of Opium Smoking In an effort to repress opium smoking and smuggling around the world, the League of Nations held a conference in Bangkok to develop an international policy.
November 12, 1931 King Alfonso XIII Found Guilty of Treason A committee of the Spanish assembly found King Alfonso XIII guilty of treason, exiling him from Spain and confiscating all royal property.
November 16-December 10, 1931 Sixty-Fifth League Council Session/Third Meeting The League of Nations Council held the third meeting of the sixty-fifth session in Paris.
November 19, 1931 U.S. Refusal to Participate in Japanese Economic Sanctions Despite a ground swell of support for an economic boycott of Japan in the United States, Secretary of State Henry Stimson informed the British that the U.S. would not participate in a League of Nations economic sanction against the Japanese. The Hoover administration was not willing to go to war with Japan over Manchuria, a step which helped undermine the effectiveness of international sanctions against an aggressor state.
December 1931 Statute of Westminster The British Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster which gave legal force to the new policies adopted by the Dominions during the Imperial Conference of 1926. Britain and the Dominions became autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown and as associated members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
December 9, 1931 New Spanish Constitution The constitutional assembly adopted a new constitution for Spain which established a single chamber parliament (the Cortes), established a republic under a president, separated Church and State, secularized education, and gave a measure of autonomy to Catalonia.
December 10, 1931 Spanish Republican Government Spanish republican government began with the election of Alcala Zamora as Spain's first president under the new constitution.
December 10, 1931 League Investigation in Manchuria The Japanese delegate to the League of Nations requested that the League send a special commission to investigate the situation in Manchuria. This request resulted League appointment of the Lytton Commission to review the chain of events that led to the Japanese intervention in northern China.
December 11, 1931 Japanese Withdrawal from the Gold Standard The Japanese government abandoned the gold standard which led to the depreciation of the yen in relation to foreign currencies and stimulated Japanese exports overseas. The Japanese decision resulted in the erection of tariff and quota barriers to protect Japanese goods.
December 22, 1931 Dutch Tariff/Quota Increase In spite of a long history of free trade, the Dutch government increased the nation's tariff schedule and set up import quotas to help the nation's agricultural and dairy sectors, which had been hit hard by the Depression.
December 29, 1931 Reorganization of Spanish Morocco The Spanish republican government reorganized the colonial government in Spanish Morocco, establishing civil and military authority under a High Commissioner. The establishment of a republic in Spain contributed to political reactions in the colony.

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