Minister Griscom to
the Secretary of State.
Tokyo, December 30,
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.,
Minister Griscom to the Minister of
Tokyo, October 27,
The Government of the United States has directed its legation in
Tokyo to investigate certain statements made by American citizens
engaged in tea trade with Japan in relation to the manner in which
is expended the appropriation made by the Imperial Government for
the promotion of the export of manufactured teas.
In the statements in question is contained the allegation that the
money so appropriated, instead of being expended by responsible
officials of the Imperial Government and publicly accounted for, is
turned over to an exclusively Japanese organization of interested
parties, [Page 574] namely, the Tea
Traders’ Guild, and by it expended in such a way that the exact
details thereof are not made public.
It is hoped that the imperial ministry of foreign affairs will
courteously assist the legation in its inquiry by furnishing some
detailed information as to the manner in which the appropriation
referred to is expended.
The Minister of Foreign
Affairs to Minister Griscom.
Department of Foreign Affairs,
Tokyo, December 21, 1903.
His Imperial Majesty’s department of foreign affairs is in receipt
from the legation of the United States of America in Tokyo of a
memorandum dated the 27th October last relative to the manner of
expenditure of the appropriation for the encouragement of the export
It is assumed that the appropriation referred to means the subsidy to
the amount of seventy thousand (70,000) yen per annum granted for a
period of seven years from the thirtieth fiscal year of Meiji
(1897-98) by the Imperial Government in accordance with their
decision made prior to 1897 and given to the central association
formed by the different Tea Traders’ Guilds in the whole
Concerning the said subsidy, its working, estimate, and accounts are
placed by the Imperial Government under the supervision of the
minister of agriculture and commerce, but no detailed account
thereof has hitherto been made public, as such a course was deemed
The Central Association has caused the various guilds to contribute
tens of thousands of yen as funds for introducing improvements in
the manufacture of teas, so that the field of their sale may be
extended, while the inhabitants of the United States and Canada, the
greatest customers of Japanese tea, are supplied with good and pure
The association has, moreover, expended its own funds for examining
teas destined for exportation, and has established agencies at the
principal markets in the United States and Canada for the purpose of
gathering information at all times with a view to encourage the
manufacture of such qualities as would be satisfactory to customers
in various countries.
The association has also from time to time dispatched persons to
Europe with instructions to make inquiries and report on the actual
condition of the tea markets there.
The association has thus endeavored, on the one hand, to see the
products improved at home, and to promote, on the other hand, the
interests of all exporters of tea, irrespective of their
And the subsidy in question has been used to defray in part the
expenses required in such undertakings.
It may be observed in this connection that the appropriation is to
cease at the close of the present fiscal year.