Mr. Bingham to Mr. Fish.
Yokohama , November 18, 1873. (Received December 26.)
Sir: Referring to your instruction No. 179 of date the 6th of March last, with its inclosures, I find allusion therein to the unpaid balance of the indemnity agreed to be paid by Japan to the United States on account of the attacks made at Shimonoseki by the Daimio of Choshien. Some days since I was asked by Sir Harry Parkes, my British colleague, to join him with the other foreign representatives in a joint note to the Japanese government calling attention to the non-payment of a moiety of this indemnity. This I declined to do, until I should receive instructions on the subject from my government. It appears by the record above referred to, and the record accords with my recollection, that a bill passed the House of Representatives, but failed in the Senate, releasing Japan from the payment to the United States of the unpaid balance of the indemnity, about $375,000. If, as reported by the House committee on that occasion, the government of the United States has already been fully indemnified by the amount hitherto paid by Japan, it occurred to me that you might deem it advisable to recommend that the House bill releasing Japan from further liability be again introduced [Page 655] and passed. Should such action meet your approval, and be carried into law upon your recommendation, I have no doubt it would confirm this government in the belief of the good intention of the United States toward it. I trust that my action thus far in the premises may meet your approval, and shall await your instructions in relation thereto.
I am, &c.,