500.A 4 e/438: Telegram
The American Delegation to the Secretary of State
[Received October 27—2:05 p.m.]
Conference 5. 1. Committee on program and procedure met this morning, C. T. Wang being named chairman. The agenda as set forth in my number 452, October 18, 3 p.m.,76 was accepted after considerable discussion, principal question in dispute being whether disposal of the proceeds of surtaxes to be collected under items (1) and (2) of section B of the agenda should be placed on the agenda as item (3). Italian Minister made this proposal which was supported [Page 867] strongly by French and to a certain extent by British Minister. Chairman Wang declared that his Government understood that agenda has been accepted by the powers. There was general objection taken to this by the delegates, the senior minister explaining that the matter of the acceptance of agenda had never come to a final conclusion owing to the fact that the alterations therein suggested by the powers had not been discussed with the Chinese Government as the latter declared that there was not time for such discussion and that therefore the agenda could not be said to have been definitely accepted. Chairman explicitly declared Chinese Government opposed to any change in the agenda as recently published but that Chinese Government intended to bring up question of disposal of proceeds of surtaxes in appropriate committee meeting. British Minister suggested compromise that minutes of committee meeting of this morning contain statement by chairman that Chinese delegation would discuss the question at issue in appropriate committee. Italian Minister remained obdurate as did chairman. I then suggested Chinese delegation at this committee meeting embody British Minister’s suggested compromise in a minute to be put to vote. This was done and following minute passed:
“It is understood that the question of the disposal of the proceeds from the surtaxes as provided in items (1) and (2) under B (Provisional Measures to be Taken During the Interim Period), as well as the question[s] of the date of enforcement [and of] the conditions subject to which they are to be imposed, will be dealt with by the committee on section B.”
2. In view of the evident disposition of the chairman to regard the terms of agenda as preventing consideration of any matters not expressly inscribed thereon, I made a reservation, as did British Minister, to the effect that any matter contained in the nine-power customs treaty or the resolution concerning board of reference should be open to discussion by the conference.