Mr. Bingham to Mr. Evarts.
Tokei, Japan , June 17, 1879. (Received July 26.)
Sir: His excellency Mr. Hennessy, Her Britannic Majesty’s governor of Hong-Kong, is at present visiting Tokei, and is the guest of His Japanese Majesty’s ministers. The governor did me the honor a few days since to call upon me, and in conversation took occasion to say that my own official action toward this government, as published in the foreign relations, and the action of our government toward Japan in the matter of treaty revision, met with the hearty approval of the majority of the people of Great Britain as well as his own approval.
The governor made an address before the Tokei Chamber of Commerce on yesterday, a copy of which, as published in the Japan Herald of the 16th instant, I have the honor to inclose, together with the reply thereto of Mr. Fukuchi, the vice-president of the chamber. I note that the governor in his address spoke of the trade of Japan with Great Britain and with the United States and China, and had the courage and justice to say that Japan’s trade with China, as well as that with the United States, “was especially favorable to producers in Japan and to exporters.” His excellency might have said with equal justice that the United States buys more of the domestic productions of Japan than any one of the Western States, while Great Britain sells more largely to Japan, and draws from her almost exclusively the large annual balances against Japan in coin.
It is also worthy of remark that Mr. Hennessy, speaking of the public debt of Japan, took care to say, as the fact is, the debt of this empire is almost exclusively a domestic loan, and that her foreign debt “is quite insignificant”, and that he also warned the Chamber of Commerce of the danger of a foreign debt, wisely citing for the instruction of his auditors, the present deplorable condition of Egypt.
I beg leave to say that the reply of Mr. Fukuchi is significant in this, that it suggests the need of Japan to encourage her own industries, and the obstacles which prevent their encouragement, and that this government is so hampered that it cannot command such revenues [Page 640] from imports “as are essential for the country,” and that “the revenue derived therefrom does not materially benefit our (Japan’s) finances to the extent that revenue of the same kind does in other countries.”
The presence of Governor Hennessy here and his policy in Hong-Kong, have excited unfavorable comment in some of the English journals in this quarter, which do not favor fair play toward either China or Japan.
I have, &c.,