500.A4e/589: Telegram

The American Delegation to the Secretary of State

39. Our number 37, May 12, 1 p.m.

1. At a meeting at Dutch Legation May 15, subsequent to meeting of advisers May 13, foreign delegates after making a few unimportant verbal changes unanimously adopted draft agreement for implementing Washington surtaxes to be referred by foreign delegates of [to] their respective Governments for approval. The only change of any consequence relates to coast-trade duties and is found in paragraph 2 in which phrase “within 3 months after” is substituted for “simultaneously with”.

2. We request the Department’s approval, at the earliest moment, of the draft as now submitted in order that we may be prepared to cooperate with the other foreign delegates in presenting this matter to the Chinese with a view to early and definite agreement for effectuating Washington surtaxes.

3. At the meeting of delegates above referred to, the Japanese submitted proposal for an additional paragraph as follows:

“It is furthermore understood that, with a view to increasing the facilities enjoyed by traders, suitable adjustments will be made in the appointment [and assignment]67a of the foreign staff of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, giving due consideration to the trade relations with Chinese of the foreign powers concerned.”

American delegates stated that while they were not unfavorably disposed toward the principle expressed in this proposal, they thought it would be very unfortunate to embody such a provision in the agreement, as it would open the way for the Chinese to raise the whole question of customs administrations. It was agreed that subject matter of the proposal should be considered, but that for the present at least paragraph should not be adopted as a part of the draft agreement.

Am[erican] Tar[iff] Del[egation]
  1. Corrected on the basis of despatch No. 5117, Nov. 1, 1940, from the Ambassador in Japan (file No. 026 Foreign Relations/1511).