893.05/82: Telegram

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

641. My telegram No. 364, September 1, 5 p.m.

1. Consular body at Shanghai recently came to satisfactory understanding with the Chinese local authorities as to the exchange of notes giving effect to the agreement for the rendition of the Mixed Court. The proposed exchange of notes was presented for the approval of the interested Ministers, following whose consideration of the matter I had occasion to telegraph Shanghai as followitem:

“December 24, 7 p.m. (1) Italian Minister categorically refuses to accept Mixed Court rendition agreement except upon some arrangements being made assuring the inclusion of an Italian assessor among the senior consul’s deputies.

(2) Senior Minister is referring to consuls through the senior consul the question of modifying the arrangement proposed in the latter’s letter of December 14th so as to have panel of deputies include all assessors that may be named by any interested consul. I myself see no objection to the acceptance of the suggested modification which would permit of concluding the rendition arrangement forthwith; but the question whether it is actually feasible and desirable to have an indefinite number of deputies must be decided by the consuls.

(3) Should the consul not find it possible to accept the proposed modification, indications are that each Legation other than the Italian will authorize its consul to conclude with the Chinese local authorities separate rendition agreement applicable as among the nationals of all such powers as may conclude the same arrangement.”

[2.] Telegram to Shanghai refers to the fact that all present at the meeting except Italian Minister severally declared themselves willing to take such action. For my part, while regretting such a breach of solidarity among the powers, I shall have no hesitation in taking such action rather than let local Italian interests at Shanghai hold us to ransom. Italian Minister shows some indications of weakening in the face of united determination of all his colleagues but may not receive in time for tomorrow’s meeting instructions he insists will be necessary to authorize change in his stand.

3. Consul general at Shanghai has now reported that a meeting of the consular body December 26th rejected the proposal outlined in the second paragraph of my telegram to him but considered and is referring to the Ministers’ two other possible compromises, both of which however failed to receive support of the Italian consul general.