File No. 763.72112/1912

The Minister in China (Reinsch) to the Secretary of State


My telegram of November 9, 10 [11] p. m.1 Consul Fisher reports that upon his inquiry as to the grounds upon which the British Consul General had instructed a British ship not to accept cargo from an American firm, the latter refused in blunt terms to give any information. While the British Minister assured me to-day that he would instruct consuls to answer such questions, I apprehend continued serious embarrassments to our trade unless attitude of British consuls is changed. They are now causing even Japanese vessels to refuse to take American cargo suspected by them. Fisher concludes [Page 617] that American merchants are forced to stand aside and see their export and import business taken over by other nationalities. Many are intimidated through fear of trade loss from even protesting.

In order to provide remedy I beg to suggest that the Legation be authorized to instruct American consuls either to refuse to certify invoices for shipments on any steamer whose owners refuse to accept cargo from Americans upon affidavits of ownership sworn to before American consuls and consular certification of American character of firm, or to refuse to certify invoices for shipments to America by British firms until the American consul has satisfied himself by full inquiry that the cargo is not one which a British ship had refused to accept at the hands of Americans.

  1. Ante, p. 610.