No. 397.

Mr. Bingham to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 1975.]

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that on Saturday last, the 20th instant, his excellency Count Inouye, his Imperial Japanese Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs, sent by his secretary a verbal message to me, as follows: That his Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Government desired, in token of their friendship for the United States, to make a gift, in perpetuity to the United States of America, of five acres or more of land for legation purposes, in the central part of this city and near to the new imperial palace now being erected therein. The estimated value of the land proposed to be given is $25,000 or more. The location will be all that could be desired.

I was requested by Mr. Inouye to communicate this offer by telegraph to you, and obtain by telegraph the information whether it will be the pleasure of our Government to accept the proposed gift.

In accordance with the minister’s request I have this day telegraphed that five acres of land in Yedo, valued at $25,000, is tendered as a gift by the Government of Japan to the United States for legation purposes, and asking that an answer be sent by telegraph as to whether or not the gift will be accepted.

Five of the foreign powers, to wit, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Russia, and China, now own and occupy legation grounds and buildings in Tokio, and Austria-Hungary holds a grant of ground therein, and will, it is understood, erect legation buildings thereon in the ensuing year; and I have no doubt the other foreign powers will at no distant day own legation grounds and buildings in this city. I do not doubt that it will be a wise economy, and greatly promote our commercial interests as well, to accept the generous offer of this Government, and to appropriate, say, $40,000 to inclose and ornament the grounds and erect suitable buildings for legation purposes, and for court-house and jail and necessary outbuildings. To do this would save annually to our Government in ground rent and rental of buildings a large sum of money, which, say at 3 per cent, on the outlay, in my opinion, in fifteen years would leave the United States possessed of a property, free of all cost, worth $100,000.

Hoping that my views may find favor and that our Government may accept the proposed gift of land,

I have, &c.,