893.01/149: Telegram

The Chargé in China (Mayer) to the Secretary of State

478. Department’s 302, December 5, 2 p.m.

With certain minor changes as set forth below, proposed statement signed this noon by representatives of the United States, Belgium, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands. It will be delivered this afternoon by senior Minister to Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and be given to press tomorrow, Wednesday noon.
Following are amendments:
“And Portugal” omitted as British Minister not yet authorized by Portugal to sign. Its adherence will be later communicated to Wai Chiao Pu.
“And duly fulfill” inserted between “respect” and “all treaties, conventions and other engagements, et cetera” in first sentence.
“Which according to international usage can only” substituted for “until such time as these international engagements shall” toward end of first sentence.
“Practicable” substituted for “possible” middle of last sentence.
Following brief explanation of amendments. In accord with instructions from home government, French representative sought to have statement inserted in last sentence of draft to effect that failure to carry out Washington Conference agreements not through fault of powers concerned. I strongly opposed this. To my mind very inadvisable to insert such controversial observation. Less said the better concerning failure execution Washington Conference agreements. I stood alone at first but finally, after much discussion, British Minister joined me. Latter suggested amendment (a) and I amendment (d) which together satisfied French Chargé.
Japanese Government had authorized its representative to sign draft with omission of “until such time as these international engagements shall be modified by the mutual consent of the contracting parties” at end of first sentence. Japanese argument in favor of this omission was that clause might incite Chinese Government to bring up treaty revision at once. British Minister and self opposed elimination of this clause. I regretted omission since I felt it advantageous to have mild intimation in our statement [Page 440] to effect that question of treaty revision not entirely remote from minds of powers concerned. Amendment (c) agreed to in view of great importance of immediate despatch and publication of statement and in view of delay which would ensue from resubmission of matter to Japanese Government. Clause substituted merely a truism.
I did my best to maintain statement as originally drafted and rather deplore the whittling away of some of its strength by amendments as made. However time element first importance and as all other representatives seemed satisfied I assented and signed.