The Minister in China ( Reinsch ) to the Secretary of State
[Received June 14, 12.26 p.m.]
Your June 12, 3 p.m.77 Japanese Government now proposes as basis for revised custom[s] duties the average values of merchandise during [Page 654] years 1912–16 to be determined by the Shanghai conference seeking guidance from the customs valuations and all other available evidence. The other ministers due to accept this as the best terms that can be obtained. The British Government insist this tariff is to be subject to revision in whole or in part two years after the war. It is also to be the understanding that the work of revision is to be completed within three months if possible.
The American delegation considers one year, 1916, preferable as a basis for a short term tariff but acquiesces in proposal for a period of five years.
The proposal to take the customs estimates as a primary basis, as reported in my telegram of April 24, 4 p.m.,78 has now been abandoned, all other available evidence being put on an equal footing. I beg to request your instructions whether American delegation should proceed on the suggested basis. Time lost by delay makes compromise advisable and commencement of work urgent.