Chargé Wilson to the Secretary of State.

No. 419.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge and confirm your instructions received on the 9th instant in a cipher telegram reading as follows:a

At an interview on the 9th instant I laid the above question before the minister for foreign affairs, who desired me to put it in writing. I accordingly addressed to his excellency on the same day a note whereof I have the honor to transmit a copy herewith. The Marquis Saionji replied, as shown by the inclosed copy of his note of the 23d instant, that the Japanese Government was averse to the addition of “agent” to the style of the consul-general of the United States at Seoul. As the ground for this objection his excellency states that the resident-general at Seoul will only deal with such matters touching foreign representatives in Korea as do not exceed the scope of ordinary consular functions, all diplomatic affairs being left for negotiation at Tokyo.

In communicating the response of the Japanese Government I had the honor on the 24th instant to dispatch to you a cipher telegram reading as follows:a

The inclosed statement of the minister for foreign affairs makes the division of foreign business with Korea between the foreign office in Tokyo and the residency-general in Seoul considerably clearer than did the articles of organization of the residency-general and residencies in Korea, a translation of which accompanied the legation’s No. 363, of January 2.

I have, etc.,

Huntington Wilson.
[Inclosure 1.]

Chargé Wilson to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Monsieur le Ministre: Acting under telegraphic instructions from the Secretary of State, I have the honor to inquire whether the Imperial Japanese Government would acquiesce in the American representative at Seoul’s being styled “agent” and “consul-general,” thus following a usual precedent in the case of protected countries, and at the same time facilitating official business relations with the resident-general.

I avail myself, etc.

Huntington Wilson.
[Page 1035]
[Inclosure 2.—Translation.]

The Minister for Foreign Affairs to Chargé Wilson.

Sir: I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your note No. 220, dated the 9th instant, asking whether the Imperial Government would acquiesce in the American representative at Seoul being styled agent and consul-general.

I have to say in reply that in view of the fact that all the diplomatic affairs concerning Korea are, according to the agreement between Japan and Korea, to be transacted through this department, and those matters relating to foreign countries, of which the resident-general at Seoul takes charge, are limited to such local affairs of Korea as would come within the scope of the functions exercised by the foreign consuls, it is believed that no inconvenience would be experienced by the United States official at Seoul in the way of maintaining official relations with the resident-general in the capacity of consul-general, and consequently the Imperial Government regret that they are unable to see their way to consent to the said official’s adopting the special designation of agent besides that of consul-general.

Accept, etc.,

Marquis Saionji.
  1. Supra.
  2. Supra.