The British Ambassador (Howard) to the Secretary of State
Sir: I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the note which you were so good as to address to me on the 8th instant and in reply to state that His Majesty’s Representatives at Paris, Rome, Tokio and Lisbon have been instructed to inform the Governments to which they are accredited that as the Canton Government apparently intend to seize, not the Maritime Customs, but the Native Customs in the area under their control, it is considered that in this case joint naval action would have no value.
I have been instructed by my Government to add that His Majesty’s Minister at Peking is of the opinion, which is understood to be shared by the Japanese Government, that the Canton Government will await developments in the civil war in North China before interfering with either the Maritime or the Native Customs, and that therefore naval action is unnecessary at present. This information has also been brought to the notice of the French, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese Governments.
I have [etc.]