500.A 4e 1/69: Telegram

The Minister in China (Schurman) to the Secretary of State

163. Your 91, May 9, 3 p.m.

Action has hitherto been delayed by failure of British Minister to receive his Government’s assent to proposed collective note submitted to you in my 123, May 7, 5 p.m. Macleay has now received approval of first two paragraphs but British Government desire to omit entirely third paragraph which was originally drafted in accordance with their instructions. This affords an interesting indication of development of the views of the MacDonald government regarding China. At meeting [of] the diplomatic body to consider matter June 3rd it became apparent that a collective note would not be possible, as French, Belgian and Italian representatives had already informed Wai Chiao Pu orally that their Governments would agree to no conference of any description until gold franc question settled, while Japanese Minister stated his Government would be willing to consider holding preliminary conference after France had ratified Nine-Power Treaty and before deposit of ratifications in Washington as they did not want to discourage the Chinese Government.
[sic]. In the circumstances it was decided to address individual notes and I have today written Chinese Foreign Office as follows on the basis of first two paragraphs of draft submitted May 7, 5 p.m.:

“I duly referred to my Government the suggestion contained in your note of March 10, 1924, that in view of the delay which has occurred in holding the special tariff conference a preliminary conference should be arranged for the purpose of preparing the ground for the formal conference.

Under instructions from the Secretary of State at Washington I have now the honor to inform Your Excellency that my Government is unable to comply with this suggestion because in their opinion the foreign representatives at the proposed preliminary conference would not be in a position to carry on effective negotiations and the task of the preparatory conference would be limited [to] the formation [formulation] of views and plans which might prejudice the work of the special tariff conference when it is held.”

British Minister sending similar note. I shall forward texts of all notes when copies received.38
  1. Notes not printed; in despatch no. 2348, June 26, the Minister transmitted copies of notes sent to the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs by the American, Belgian, British, French, Italian, and Japanese Ministers.