File No. 124.0665/21

The Ambassador in Japan (Guthrie) to the Secretary of State

No. 219]

Sir: With reference to the Department’s telegram of November 25 last,1 concerning the establishment of uniform regulations for the transference of correspondence of American diplomatic and consular officers in belligerent territories, I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a note verbale received from the Foreign Office in response to this Embassy’s representations.

I have [etc.]

Geo. W. Guthrie

The Japanese Foreign Office to the American Embassy

Note Verbale

In reply to the note verbale of the American Embassy in Tokyo under date November 27, 1914, relative to the transmission of the official correspondence of American diplomatic and consular officers, the Imperial Department of Foreign Affairs has the honor to make the following statement:

The Imperial Government, although they are at present in state of war, are treating the mail matter referred to in the above-mentioned note verbale of the American Embassy in Japanese territory in absolutely the same manner as in time of peace, and do not, therefore, deem it necessary at this juncture to conclude a special agreement on the subject; but if the United States Government still desire to conclude such an agreement, they will have no objection to the acceptance of the American proposals, subject to the following conditions:

That any mail matter which is deemed to contain prohibited matter or other matter which has been sent contrary to regulations will, whether the proposed agreement is concluded or not and whoever may be the sender or recipient of such mail matter, be dealt with according to the provisions of Article 16 of the Imperial postal law and Article 16 of the international postal convention concluded at Rome;
That it is understood that the localities which are occupied, blockaded, or invested by Imperial forces and those localities in Japanese territory where law on the state of siege (Kaigen Rei) is in force shall not come within the scope of the proposed agreement;
That the United States Government formally recognize the fact that consular officers, as such, having no claim to the above-mentioned exemption, the concession is merely a friendly act, that the same Government engage by a written guarantee for the strict observance of the rule that no private correspondence shall be sent under official seal or cover by United States diplomatic or consular officers, and that consuls de carrière alone should have the privilege.