893.74/721: Telegram

The Chargé in China ( Mayer ) to the Secretary of State


437. Department’s telegram number 184, September 7, 6 p.m., and Legation’s telegram number 365, September 1, 6 p.m.

Word has been sent me by Admiral Tsai Ting-kan, now ill in a hospital, that the Japanese Chargé d’Affaires had informed him that [Page 1079] the Japanese Minister who is returning here from Japan about the 10th of October had instructions from his Government that he take up the wireless question with me and with the Chinese. Admiral Tsai desired that I be advised of this so I might be prepared.
I at once went informally to the Admiral, September 27th. He somewhat elaborated on the above-described message. Apparently some time ago, no doubt during the period of his activity in behalf of the Federal wireless contract, for which see Legation’s 335 and 365, Tsai told the Japanese Chargé, Hori, in a very frank conversation that he felt it necessary equally for Japan, the United States, and China to settle the one question now clouding their perfect friendship, that he was convinced completely that the interested Americans were willing to make any reasonable compromise once they were placed on a footing of equality with the Japanese, and to insist that the Chinese Government execute the Federal contract, and that furthermore, to the latter end, he would do all he could. Tsai believed that Hori was much impressed and that he reported the conversation to Tokyo with the result I described in paragraph 1.
I briefly reiterated our position to Tsai that when the “clarification agreement” had been signed and necessary orders given as to land and bonds, we would be willing to meet the Japanese and the Chinese with a view to finding a solution of the problem along the reasonable lines proposed heretofore, but that, before we would do anything further, we must be put on this basis of parity with the Japanese.
I could not help being impressed with the apparent sincerity of the stand the Admiral declared he had taken with the Japanese in support of the Federal contract, with the logic of his remarks, and, likewise, with the belief he seemingly had that he could succeed in achieving the result desired. He stated at the end of our conversation that he would have a talk with Yoshizawa as soon as the Minister arrived, and that he would inform me of the result and then invite Yoshizawa and me, and probably Chang, the Minister of Communications, to an unofficial dinner at which we could informally discuss the matter. I shall accept such an invitation unless instructed to the contrary, provided it appears advantageous then, and I shall quite frankly tell all that we desire to solve the problem but state that we are unable to enter any negotiations for that purpose until and unless our contract is executed by the signature of the “clarification agreement”, and so forth.
Since, in addition to the conversation I had with Tsai, Saburi very earnestly spoke to me in the above regard when he returned recently from a brief visit to Tokyo, I am the more inclined to the belief that the Japanese are becoming increasingly anxious that this matter be settled. Saburi emphasized that the only question pending between his country and the United States was the wireless question [Page 1080] and that our inability to come to a decision on it was a great pity. From a frank discussion of it with him I gathered quite conclusively that the Japanese Government now regarded the question primarily as one involving their national prestige and therefore that the finding of a solution which would save face for them was the principal problem.
Pending the arrival of Yoshizawa, at which time presumably it will develop whether definite proposals are contemplated by the Japanese, I suggest that it is inadvisable to communicate to Radio Corporation this recent phase of the situation unless doing so is necessary to keep alive the interest of the corporation in the matter, since, until the matter is further in progress, for them to send their representatives here would hardly serve any useful purpose or be justified. However, should the Department give information of the matter to Radio Corporation, may I suggest that it be given somewhat in this sense?