Chargé Wilson to the Secretary of State.
Tokyo , January 18, 1906 .
Sir: When I had the honor to report to you on November 22 the results of this legation’s efforts to gain permission for Americans to investigate their properties temporarily abandoned at Port Arthur and Dalny at the outbreak of the war, there was ample ground for the expectation that the interested parties would be allowed to visit those places early in December.[Page 1076]
At an interview which I had at that time with the vice-minister for war, he implied that an occasional traveler might be permitted to visit Port Arthur, but that the confusion there was still too great to admit of the coming of business men to look after their affairs. General Ishimoto finally gave permission, under date of November 25, for Mr. Dunn, the agent of the American Trading Company, to visit Port Arthur from December 1, but only in the quality of an ordinary traveler. In granting this permit the war office stipulated that no others of the sort would be allowed. Mr. Dunn’s name was selected by me for the reason that his company’s application was the one filed earliest at the legation. While the permit did not carry with it facilities for investigation, yet the opportunity for their agent at least to look over the ground was much valued by the American Trading Company.
Since the beginning of December the legation has frequently inquired as to when the Americans interested might proceed to Port Arthur, but on each occasion the date has been postponed, and the need of time for making regulations and arrangements has been put forward. On the 21st ultimo I represented the whole matter to Count Katsura, premier and acting minister for foreign affairs, with similar results. The same day I received an informal letter from the ministry of war asking for still more time, and wherein it was stated that a committee to take charge of the abandoned properties was about to be formed under the commanding general of the occupied districts, and that the owners of property would be allowed to go to Port Arthur before long.
No change having taken place in the situation, I verbally brought the matter to the attention of Mr. Kato on the 11th instant, and on the 13th instant addressed to his excellency a note on the subject, wherein the desired permits were specifically requested for Messrs. Nielson (representing Clarkson & Co.), Friede, and Toritch. I have the honor to inclose a copy of the above-mentioned note. Accompanying it will be found an informal memorandum of the communications on the question under discussion which passed between the legation and different officials of the Japanese Government during the past half year.
On the 17th instant I received an informal note from the minister for foreign affairs, a copy of which is herewith, whereby I was informed that it had been decided to give permission to visit Port Arthur and Dalny and that the restrictions would shortly be removed. The following morning I called at the foreign office and obtained these particulars: The military commander of the Kwantung would issue the new regulations in a day or two; he would then telegraph the war department, who would thereupon be ready to grant the long-sought permits, upon application made through the foreign office. The official whom I saw was of opinion that the permits would now be available within four days, and I am happy to be able to report that I am quite confident that the Americans interested may go to Port Arthur and Dalny next week.
I have, etc.,