893.51/2920: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Davis)

873. Your 1216, August 12, 5 p.m.80

You will inform the Foreign Office that the substance of the note prepared by the British Chargé d’Affaires at Peking has been received by the Department and that it does not seem to meet the situation so far as concerns the subject of completely informing the Chinese Government of the various steps taken in connection with the organization of the Consortium. The Department is still of the opinion that the Chinese Government is entitled to have all of the essential documents relating to these negotiations. With that in view, the Department on July 15th instructed the American Minister at Peking81 to consult with his British, French and Japanese colleagues [Page 567] and endeavor to arrange for a joint communication of relative [relevant?] documents to the Chinese Government for its confidential information at the present time, but on the understanding that they are eventually to be made public by agreement among the interested parties. It was proposed that the following correspondence be included in the communication of the facts to the Chinese Government:

[Here follows list of correspondence, with necessary changes in document numbers, contained in telegram no. 179, July 15, 8 p.m., to the Minister in China, printed on page 552.]

Please bring such of these documents as the British Government does not already possess to its attention and say that the American Government hopes that the British Government will instruct its Legation at Peking to agree to the communication of all these papers to the Chinese Government in lieu of the brief résumé prepared by the British Chargé d’Affaires at Peking and which your 1225 Aug. 13th, 2 P.M., reports has been approved by British Foreign Office.

On August 11, the Department telegraphed to the American Minister at Peking stating that in a matter so vitally affecting the future economic development of China, the Chinese Government is entitled to the fullest explanation of the negotiations which led up to the unanimous approval of the consortium plan by the Governments concerned. The Department expressed the hope that the Minister would be able to persuade his colleagues of the wisdom of a more complete disclosure of the notes exchanged. It was pointed out that the reference to the Japanese position in the British Chargé d’Affaires’ note was not full enough and would tend to lend color to the statements now being circulated in Japan to the effect that Japan never withdrew the reservations in regard to Mongolia and Manchuria originally demanded. The Department feared that this statement would be misleading unless it was clearly set forth in the note that the original reservations as to Manchuria and Mongolia were withdrawn by the Japanese Banking Group with the approval of its Government. Minister Crane was informed that this Government has urged consistently the communication of all the essential documents as enumerated above, in order to avoid the hazardous course of submitting any interpretative and necessarily inadequate summary.

You may communicate the substance of the above to the British Government and say that this Government hopes that the British Government may instruct its representative at Peking to join his colleagues in communicating all of the essential documents to the Chinese Government.

  1. Not printed; see telegram no. 1225, Aug. 13, from the Ambassador in Great Britain, supra.
  2. Ante, p. 552.