The Secretary of State to the British Ambassador (Howard)
Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Note No. 1006 of October 25, 1924, stating that the British Government has learned that the Canton Government is again threatening to seize the Canton Customs and expressing the hope of the British Government that the American representative in Peking may be authorized to concert with the British representative in arranging for a renewal of the naval demonstration at Canton.
Being likewise informed of the apparent seriousness of the situation at Canton, this Government had already on the 22d instant transmitted a report thereon to its representatives at London, Paris and Tokyo, stating its view that the situation was one which did not permit of isolated action, but required, if any action were to be taken, the close cooperation of the Powers principally interested. The representatives were at the same time instructed to discuss the matter with the respective Foreign Offices concerned and authorized to state that this Government was prepared to cooperate, for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of the Canton Customs, in the same manner as it did in December, 1923.[Page 416]
While exchanges of views on this subject were proceeding, this Government was informed by its representative in London that the British Foreign Office had learned that Sun Yat-sen was threatening the seizure only of the “native” Canton Customs and that accordingly the British Minister at Peking and the naval authorities considered there was no need for naval action at the present time.