File No. 893.773/42.
Chargé Wheeler to the Secretary of State .
Tokyo , June 9, 1915 .
Sir: Since the writing of the Department’s instruction No. 140 of April 17 last, on the subject of apparent discrimination in the freight rates on the South Manchuria Railway, the Embassy’s Nos. 242 and 253 of March 29 and April 6, respectively, have informed the Department of later developments in the question.[Page 619]
On receipt of the Department’s telegram of April 17, I at once took up the matter with the Foreign Office, on the basis of Baron Kato’s note No. 98 of March 19 (enclosed in our dispatch No. 242, above mentioned), stating that I was confident that the continuance of the old conditions at Dairen was clue only to the failure of the local authorities to receive instructions from the central office, and that I hoped the sending of these instructions need not be long delayed. The vice minister for Foreign Affairs promised to telegraph at once to Dairen and to ascertain where the trouble lay.
On May 5 the Consul at Dairen telegraphed me that the railway authorities informed him that a draft of agreement was being prepared there which would be submitted to the Imperial Government for their approval. On my next call at the Foreign Office I inquired regarding this draft, expressing some surprise that it should be thought to be necessary, since all that was desired in the case of shipments by American vessels was that rates and agreements be applied to them which were already operative as regards shipments in Japanese vessels. The reply was made that the local authorities at the port involved, knowing how to deal with Japanese companies, had not in the past gone very deeply into the question, but that now that arrangements were to be made with foreign companies, they felt the need of giving the matter more careful study and employing a more regular form of contract.
I have the honor to enclose herewith copies of more recent correspondence between myself and the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs on the subject. The Embassy is not as yet in receipt of a copy of the “draft contract” said to be in preparation.
The Department’s instruction No. 140, above referred to, states that “no line of Japanese steamers appears to be engaged in carrying goods to that port” (Newchwang). According to the report of the Commissioner of Customs for the year 1913 (the latest report on file at this Embassy), clearances and entries of Japanese steamers at Newchwang totaled 298, as against 177 British and 114 Chinese vessels. What proportion of these ply between Newchwang and Shanghai, these statistics do not show; I am informed, however, by the Nippon Yusen Kaisha that this company maintains a regular service on that route.
I have [etc.]