The Department of State to the Japanese Embassy89

Aide Memoire

By an agreement dated October 21, 1911 (of which a copy is attached herewith for reference90), the Bethlehem Steel Corporation of New York entered into arrangements with the Chinese Government for the construction or improvement of factories for the manufacture of guns and ammunition, for the improvement of existing dockyards and arsenals, and for the construction of naval vessels and guns.

The Chinese Government has recently requested the Company to enter into negotiations for the detailed supplementary agreements [Page 748] for which provision is made in Articles I and IV, and has requested the Government of the United States to furnish the technical assistance contemplated by Article V of this agreement.

While recognizing the validity of the rights accruing to the Bethlehem Steel Corporation under this agreement, the Government of the United States, having discussed the question with the American corporation in interest, and having been assured by it of its willingness to be guided by the determination of this Government on the matters of policy involved, desires frankly to consult the Governments of the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan in order to ascertain their views as to the propriety of undertaking at the present time any such program of naval development in China as is contemplated by the agreement of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. Should it be the view of these Governments that the construction of naval vessels, arsenals and dockyards for the account of the Chinese Government or of its administrative subdivisions or local authorities, or the giving of technical naval assistance, should not be undertaken by foreign Governments or their nationals pending the restoration of a unified Government in China, the Government of the United States is prepared, while of course reserving the eventual rights of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation under its agreement of October 21, 1911, to give assurance that pending the realization of such political conditions in China, no steps will be taken by the American corporation concerned, or by the American Government, to avail themselves of the rights established by this agreement. It is of course to be understood that this assurance would be given subject to the undertaking that the Governments and the nationals of the British Empire, France, Italy and Japan will likewise refrain from undertaking, either directly or indirectly, any similar naval development or technical assistance.

The Government of the United States accordingly requests an expression of the views of the Japanese Government on this question.

  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, to the British, French, and Italian Embassies.
  2. Not printed.