893.5045/96: Telegram

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

237. My telegram number 217, June 12, 6 p.m., paragraph 2.

  • Number 1. Our delegation at Shanghai departed last night for Peking since unable to come to agreement with Chinese Government commission in regard to fixing the basis for possible accord between the diplomatic representatives concerned and the Chinese Government in respect of Shanghai incidents. We had restricted our delegation to the following four points: (1) indemnity to the victims, (2) simultaneous suspension of the Chinese chief of police and the inspector of Louza police station, commencement of [pending?] an administrative inquiry by the Municipal Council into the subject of the technical responsibility of the inspector, (3) agreement by the Chinese authorities to maintain order in all the Chinese districts of Shanghai outside the concessions and agreement for a return to work, this return to work to be followed automatically by (4) reembarkation of all the landing force and the complete demobilization of the International Concession. The Chinese delegation had received instructions to negotiate for a settlement on the spot believing that the Mixed Court question, representation on the Municipal Council and the like were questions directly connected with the Shanghai incidents, whereas we had limited our delegation’s authority as above. These divergent instructions prevented successful negotiations at Shanghai.
  • 2. At meeting of the Heads of Legation this morning the senior minister was authorized to inform the Chinese Government immediately that the interested diplomatic representatives decided to begin negotiations without delay; that in their opinion the immediate return [settlement?] of the Shanghai incidents themselves on basis of equity and justice must be object of the first agreement; that likewise if the Chinese Government expresses the desire the interested diplomatic representatives are disposed to request of their respective [Page 668] Governments authorization to discuss in the most friendly spirit the propositions presented to their delegation at Shanghai concerning both the [re]organization of the International Settlement and the administration of justice in the said Settlement. This is being given widest publicity in the hope that it will prevent any unfortunate repercussion from the departure of our delegation from Shanghai and in order to demonstrate to the Chinese Government and people our earnest desire to settle the Shanghai incident itself at the earliest moment possible and to cooperate with the Chinese Government [in] the broader questions of a reorganization of the International Settlement if authorized to do so by our Governments.
  • 3. The Heads of Legation decided to constitute the Italian Minister, the French Minister and myself a committee to negotiate with the Chinese Government in the above regard.
  • 4. I believe this morning’s démarche is a very wise step along the line of proper conciliation whenever possible. It likewise divides into two sections, for negotiation with the Chinese Government, the question of the actual shooting affrays themselves at Shanghai and the broader matter of a reorganization of the International Settlement. Not to make this differentiation and maintain it, would be to cause endless confusion and in effect in my opinion jeopardize the success in either direction. I construe the present state of affairs extremely critical; that the prescribed [sic] movement and agitation is essentially nationalist in character rather than antiforeign; that we foreigners must make some concession to the Chinese before the agitation will subside and that if we do not do so speedily there are grave fears for the future. In my opinion the widespread agitation centers psychologically in the Shanghai incident; that therefore we should settle this as satisfactorily as possible at once when it is hoped the agitation throughout the country will subside temporarily at least.
  • 5. The readjustment now going on between China and the foreign powers is greatly accelerated and exacerbated by the Shanghai incident and its widespread repercussion and is likewise being exploited in every manner possible by the Soviets. Just how much they had to do with the actual initiation of the Shanghai incident is at present impossible to say. While the situation in China is not yet out of [hand] I am alarmed at the potentialities unless something is done speedily and satisfactorily as regards a solution thereof.