File No. 893.811/235

Minister Reinsch to the Secretary of State

No. 1267

Sir: Referring to my despatch No. 1224 of October 13, last, concerning the Grand Canal improvement work in Shantung Province, Mr. W. F. Carey has reported to me that on the 28th ultimo, Mr. Debuchi, First Secretary of the Japanese Legation, called on him and, among other things, spoke about the Canal enterprise. He assured Mr. Carey that the Japanese entertain the most friendly disposition towards the Siems-Carey Company. He continued:

* * * that we must not take their inquiries on the Grand Canal, for instance, as meaning anything more than they were anxious that China should recognize the fact that Japan had by might taken over the position of Germany in the Province of Shantung. He said that he realized quite fully that legally [Page 128] as yet Japan did not have the rights of Germany in Shantung; but that, inasmuch as they had put the Germans out of this province, and inasmuch as by the twenty-one demands made on China in 1915 (wherein one of these demands stipulated that should Germany and Japan come to an agreement whereby Germany relinquished her position in Shantung to Japan, that transaction should be recognized and binding upon the Chinese Government), therefore, while this procedure as yet had not actually taken place, nevertheless it was a procedure that would at the close of the war take place; and that Japan was only anxious that China recognize the fact that Japan was actually now in Germany’s position in this province. He stated that Japan did not want and would not do anything to prevent the construction of this waterway; that he realized it was a much needed improvement, and as a matter of fact it was an improvement that Japan herself desired.

Mr. Debuchi assured Mr. Carey that the Japanese would not press their claim to the extent that it might endanger the carrying out at this time of the Canal improvement.

I am not in a position to report the complete solution of the tangle which was explained in the Legation’s No. 1224 of October 13, as the situation is very complicated, it has seemed well to the American representatives here to leave the solution of the matter in the hands of Mr. Roy S. Anderson and Mr. Pan Fu, the official who is most interested in the realization of the Canal improvement plans. Mr. Pan has, during the last three weeks, been working on the Kiangsu situation and has reported that the local officials and gentry have now been brought in line so as to support the Central Government in this matter. Mr. Pan has now proceeded to Tsinanfu; the new Governor of Shantung, Mr. Chang Huai-chih, with whom Mr. Pan is on good terms, is favorable to the enterprise and it is believed that the local opposition can now be overcome within a very short time.

I have [etc.]

Paul S. Reinsch