The Minister in China (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 6—9:18 a.m.]
114. Following sent to Tokyo in reference to its telegram informing me of recent newspaper comment concerning wireless question:
“12. March 5, 3 p.m. 1. Since Saburi’s return to Peking, he has informed me that by reason of the death of Kato, he did not have satisfactory opportunity to discuss wireless question as fully as he had wished during his short visit home. He said Shidehara was disposed to take conciliatory attitude but insisted upon two points, first, Chinese control of wireless stations (although from Saburi’s explanation it appears that he does not regard this as incompatible with substantial control of technical operation and finances by representatives of the foreign interests), and second, that any arrangement must take account of the commitments which Japan has already assumed towards British and French wireless interests. I told him that the first of these points made by Shidehara might prove capable of adjustment, in view of the qualifications he had stated, but that as to the second I could offer no suggestion without knowledge of the scope and character of Japan’s commitments, which he thereupon undertook to furnish me later. Upon my inquiring whether Shidehara was disposed to fall in with the suggestion that his Government cease its pressure upon the Chinese and permit our contract to be put into course execution with the understanding that three-cornered conversations among the Chinese telegraph administration and the American and Japanese radio interests would follow, thereupon, he made the disappointing revelation that the Japanese Foreign Office is unwilling to let our contract proceed until arrangements have been made between the American and Japanese companies. I told him that insistence upon this point meant that the Japanese expected us to yield our whole position and that it brought to nothing the efforts that he and I had been making to find a way out of the impasse. He promised to continue his study of the subject in the hope of finding a solution.
2. On February 24th I wrote the Chinese Foreign Office a further note urging action on the contract in pursuance of the Government’s promise of October 6th.50
3. There is, of course, no truth in the statement which you quote as attributed by Japan Times to an official of the Foreign Office to the effect that the question is pending between the American and Japanese Governments; see my despatch 6, February 1, 5 p.m. I am reliably informed that Japanese Legation is still urging the Chinese to take no action on our contract for the same reason.”