File No. 893.773/37.
The Secretary of State to Ambassador Guthrie .
Washington , April 17, 1915 .
Sir: Your despatch No. 234 of March 8, 1915, relating to the subject of apparent discrimination in the freight rates on the South Manchuria Railway against shipments from Shanghai, has been read with interest.
The representations made by you to the Imperial Japanese Government on behalf of American trade through Newchwang are approved by the Department.
It appears, however, that discrimination exists not only on shipments through Newchwang but on shipments through Dairen as well in cases where the goods are not carried in Japanese vessels. The Department has received recently a number of protests against the alleged inequality of treatment accorded American goods. It is hoped, therefore, that your representations will lead to a removal of the discriminations charged.[Page 618]
A telegram from the Consul at Dairen dated April 7 reports that American vessels are still denied most-favored treatment, from which the Department infers that the conference to which you refer in your despatch under acknowledgment decided to continue the practice of which complaint is made.
You are instructed, therefore, to bring the matter once more to the attention of the Japanese Foreign Office and express the hope and confident belief of this Government, that the Imperial Japanese Government will require the authorities of the South Manchuria Railway so to modify their published rates as to secure that equality of commercial opportunity for all nationalities in Manchuria, to the maintenance of which both our Governments are pledged.
With respect to the trade through Newchwang, attention should be called to the fact that the discrimination is the more marked for the reason that no line of Japanese steamers appears to be engaged in carrying goods to that port, while all other lines are denied the reduced rates so that shipments through that port are practically without any relief.
You will also repeat your endeavors to obtain for shipments to Newchwang which are subsequently forwarded to points north of Mukden, the same reduction as is granted to those sent through Newchwang direct to points north of Mukden.
The Department trusts you will spare no effort to obtain a satisfactory settlement of these matters which appear to be of considerable importance to American trade.
I am [etc.]