Minister Griscom to the Secretary of State.
Tokyo, December 30, 1903.
Sir: * * * The legation has investigated the complaint made by American firms exporting Japanese teas that the government tea subsidy was, in effect, a bounty to native dealers and therefore a discrimination against foreigners.
While no positive proof has been obtainable, yet the facts appear to bear out, in general, the complaint of the Americans interested. The department of agriculture and commerce turns over for expenditures the subsidy to the Tea Traders’ Guild, an exclusively Japanese organization including all the native competitors of the foreign firms, and this fact in itself warrants a strong presumption that the advantages of the subsidy are not shared by the foreign firms.
By way of taking up the matter with the Japanese Government I handed in a memorandum on October 27, touching upon the objections made to the manner of expenditure of the subsidy and requesting the government’s assistance in furnishing some detailed information on the subject. I am now in receipt of a memorandum from the department of foreign affairs, which, however, fails to throw any light on the subject. I have the honor to inclose copies of these memoranda. It will be noted that the statement is made that the appropriation for this subsidy ceases at the end of this fiscal year. It should, however, be remarked that no assurance is given that the proposition will not be renewed in the next Diet as a government measure and a new appropriation made. * * *
I have, etc.,