893.74/655: Telegram

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


31. Letter from Harbord, dated January 25, received by Department.45 It states that in a letter December 7, 1925, Colonel Manton Davis communicated to him memoranda of the conversations Davis and Barnes Moss had with you and with the Chinese authorities, and also a copy of the Federal Company’s understanding regarding the modifications of their contract and the action which the Minister of Communications promised, based on the exchange of notes October 6 and 8.46 In his observation that the Chinese have done nothing to fulfill the promises resulting from the above notes, Harbord adverts to the fact that an agreement that negotiations will take place with reference to wireless contracts between the Americans, [Page 1050] Japanese, and Chinese has been made by you and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He adds that it is not made clear who is to extend an invitation by way of initiating these discussions. He informs the Department that a representative of one of the foreign interests which compose the consortium—which he says he has been told is organized by Japanese, British, and French to exploit the wireless communications of China—recently stated to him unofficially and frankly that they are opposing the Federal contract and that it would never be carried out. Harbord suggests therefore that the negotiations provided for by the agreement might well take place in the city of New York. On behalf of the Radio Corporation of America, he expresses a desire to extend an invitation, through the Department, to the representatives of Mitsui Company and of the Chinese Ministry of Communications to meet in New York City for that purpose.

The above would seem to indicate that the more recent developments reported by you in your telegrams 24, January 13, 9 p.m., and 35, January 20, 7 p.m., have not been communicated to Harbord by Davis, particularly Davis’ conversations with Saburi which indicate that the contemplated negotiations of the Radio Corporation with the Japanese have already commenced. With regard to Harbord’s proposal, please consult Davis and telegraph your comments. Department proposes to reply to Harbord’s letter, unless you perceive objection, with the suggestion that he come to Washington for consultation. I would propose at that time to outline to him the developments which you reported in the telegrams mentioned above, and suggest to him that he may not desire, in view of these developments, to continue along the lines he proposed.

For your information, the Department would prefer, inasmuch as you have placed Davis already in direct touch with the Japanese, to leave the decision as to place and mode of purely business negotiations to arrangement between the interested parties.

  1. Not printed.
  2. See telegrams Nos. 426 and 430, Oct. 5 and 8, from the Minister in China, Foreign Relations, 1925, vol. i, pp. 930 and 932.