Chargé Wilson to the Secretary of State.

No. 412.]

Sir: I have the honor to confirm your telegraphic instruction received February 23, which reads, deciphered, as follows:a

Immediately upon the receipt of the above, I embodied the sense of your instructions in a memorandum, which I transmitted to the minister for foreign affairs, with a note dated February 23, wherein I set forth the alleged discrimination in favor of Japanese and against American commerce in Manchuria, and, in view of the great importance of the principle involved, requested the Japanese Government’s serious and early consideration of the matter. I have the honor to forward herewith copies of the above-mentioned note and memorandum.

On the 1st instant, when I spoke to Mr. Kato, then minister for foreign affairs, of the present apparent failure of the “open door” policy, he referred to it as a very grave matter, adding that he had not heard of any discrimination. On the 7th instant, a member of the legation who visited the foreign office was told that the note of the 23d ultimo had been referred to the department concerned and that the foreign office would bear in mind the legation’s wish for an early answer.

I have the honor to inclose a clipping from the Japan Times of the 13th instant, announcing an industrial exhibition to be held at Mukden this summer. The day after this item appeared, I caused inquiries to be made at the department of agriculture and commerce, and I append to the clipping an account of the statement of an official of that department made in reply to my inquiries. It will be observed that the project is to hold a bazaar at Mukden, beginning May 1, for the exhibition of Japanese merchandise. The project is under the auspices of the principal chambers of commerce of Japan, and, if not under government supervision, at least the details of the enterprise are well known to the department of agriculture and commerce, which seems to be in sympathy with the undertaking.

Inasmuch as about three weeks have already elapsed since I acted upon your instructions of the 23d ultimo, at my interview with Mr. Chinda to-day I handed him a note verbale, designed to emphasize the importance of the pending question and to hasten the time when I may have the honor to reply to your instructions. A copy of my note verbale of this date is herewith inclosed.

Up to the present time no foreign business men have been permitted to go to Port Arthur or Dalny, excepting those who went to investigate property formerly abandoned there. Some applications [Page 172] have been made through this legation, but thus far without result. The British embassy is in the same position in regard to British merchants. The ambassador informs me that he has been making representations on behalf of his nationals and that he is now taking the matter up under instructions from his Government. Another matter in which he is interested is the restriction against foreign vessels.

A few days ago an American citizen who held a Russian permit to proceed from Vladivostok, over the Chinese Eastern Railway, to Chang-chun, and who held a Japanese permit to revisit Port Arthur, asked me to inquire whether he might go south from Chang-chun to Dalny, stopping en route at Mukden and Liaoyang, at which places also he had abandoned property at the outbreak of the war. In answer to my question the foreign office gave me a statement of the military authorities to the effect that, by the terms of a memorandum concluded between General Fukushima and the commander of the Russian forces, no foreigners were permitted to pass between the zones in Manchuria still occupied by the two armies, except in very special cases and under permits granted by the commanders of both forces, applications for such permission being made to those commanders, between whom mutual arrangement was necessary. I mention this as illustrating the difficulties encountered by foreigners wishing to enter from the north into that portion of Manchuria now under Japanese control.

I shall hope soon to gain information as to the conditions met by Americans who desire to go into Manchuria via Newchwang, the question as to which is the immediate subject of your instructions under acknowledgment.

I have, etc.,

Huntington Wilson.
[Inclosure 1.]

Chargé Wilson to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

No. 214.]

Monsieur le Ministre: I have the honor to hand your excellency herewith a memorandum on the subject of alleged discrimination in favor of Japanese and against American commerce in Manchuria. Your excellency will observe that my Government places the fullest reliance upon the purpose of the Imperial Japanese Government to maintain in practice the principle of equal opportunity. The present reported failure to apply that principle is unhesitatingly assumed by the Secretary of State to be due to a perversion of the purposes of your excellency’s government by the unauthorized action of subordinates, and I am instructed by telegraph to ask that the Imperial Japanese Government inquire into the matter.

In view of the great importance which the United States attaches to the prinple involved, I have the honor to request that your excellency kindly use all expedition in placing me in a position to reassure my Government of the enforcement in practice of a principle as to which the Governments of the United States and of Japan are in such hearty accord.

I seize this opportunity to renew to your excellency the assurances of my highest consideration.

Huntington Wilson.
[Page 173]

[Inclosure 2—Memorandum with No. 214.]

The Secretary of State is receiving from American merchants and traders representations of an urgent nature to the effect that, nothwithstanding the long period of time which has intervened since the operation of the treaty of peace, they are still being prevented from entering Manchuria by way of Newchwang. American tobacco interests are particularly distressed; those concerned state that their agents are excluded from Manchuria, while at the same time Japanese agents of the tobacco trade are allowed to go into that territory and extend their business.

The declared purpose of the Imperial Japanese Government to maintain absolute equality of opportunity for trade advantages in Manchuria is well known to, and fully recognizeed by, the United States. Therefore, in view of these reports, the Secretary of State is impressed with the idea that unauthorized subordinates of the Imperial Japanese Government may be failing to carry out that purpose.

[Inclosure 3.]

exhibition at mukden.

[Clipping from Japan Times of March 13.]

An industrial exhibition will be held at Mukden this summer. The list of exhibitors is to be closed to-day. The number of applications received in Tokyo for stalls up to yesterday reached 3,000. The scheme promises to be a great success. The exhibition is calculated to greatly promote our commerce in Manchuria.

Note.—On March 14, Mr. (——) made a statement to the following effect in reply to the legation’s request for information regarding an exhibition of Japanese merchandise, which it is reported will be held at Mukden this spring:

The industrial exhibition to be held this summer is under the auspices of six chambers of commerce in Japan, viz, Tokyo, Yokohama, Kobe, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Osaka. It will be open from May 1 to July 15 this year, but it is hoped to make it a kind of bazaar open all the year round. It is to be maintained chiefly by the rent to be paid by the exhibitors at the rate of 30 yen per tsubo, and admission fees. The exhibition is on a very small scale, and is more like a kwankoba (fair or bazaar). The department of agriculture and commerce has nothing to do with the exhibition, except to encourage the work and to facilitate the progress of commerce in a general way. There are some Chinese exhibitors whose applications have been granted, but owing to the difficulty of having a desirable place, applications of chambers of commerce other than the six chambers referred to may be rejected.

For further particulars Mr. Yamawaki referred the legation to one of the six chambers of commerce mentioned above.

[Inclosure 4.]

Note verbale from Chargé Wilson to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The chargé d’affaires of the United States had the honor to address to his excellency His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs a note dated the 23d ultimo, accompanied by a memorandum of the same date, on the subject of the alleged practical failure in Manchuria of the principal of equal opportunity.

About three weeks now having elapsed since the above representations were made, under telegraphic instructions from the American Government, and in view of the grave political principle involved in this matter, the chargé d’affaires of the United States has the honor again to ask that his excellency His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s minister for foreign affairs kindly place him, at his excellency’s very earliest convenience, in a position to reply to his Government.

[Page 174]

Mr. Huntington Wilson takes advantage of this opportunity to convey to his excellency the Marquis Saionji the renewed assurances of his highest consideration.

  1. Supra.