File No. 893.773/24.

Consul Williamson to the Secretary of State .


Sir: I have the honor to transmit herewith this office’s English translation of Railway Notice No. 471 which extends the through [Page 601] goods rate system so that through goods from countries other than Japan and Chosen (Korea) may receive equal treatment with through goods from those places.

But through goods, to obtain the special rates, must be shipped on Japanese vessels, and therefore this order No. 47 is a discriminatory one which places the merchant vessels of all countries plying to this port from Formosa, Tientsin, Bombay, America, Australia, European ports and Shanghai at a disadvantage vis-à-vis Japanese ships on the same run.

The action of the company, which is a semi-official organization under the control of the national Government of Japan is, I believe, due to murmurings among foreign merchants in the Far East, and perhaps to the protest of the Dairen Foreign Board of Trade to the former Governor General, Baron Fukushima, and was intended to place foreign goods (non-Japanese) on an equality with Japanese goods.

Its effect, however, is to give Japanese shipping an unfair advantage. It is made in contravention of Article VIII of the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with Japan of February 21, 1911, whereby “all articles _ _ _ _ _ may _ _ _ _ _ be imported _ _ _ _ _ in vessels of the other contracting party, without being liable to any other or higher duties or Charges of whatever denomination than if such articles were imported in national vessels.”

Whereas the advantage given by special rates to the trade with Japan and Korea might be defended as being given to a part of Japan’s coasting trade, which is specially exempted by Article XIII of the said treaty, the granting of the special rates to Japanese vessels engaged in distinctively foreign trade destroys the availability of this defense and places the act on a par with an act granting a reduction in customs duties to imports brought to Japan in Japanese bottoms.

I have [etc.]

A. A. Williamson.
  1. Not printed.