Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Johnson)
Mr. Secretary: I went to see the British Ambassador as you suggested with reference to the Shanghai situation. I told him that, in conversation with you, you had been led to understand that the British Government would not be averse to discussions for a change in the status of the International Settlement at Shanghai. I said to him that we were contemplating sending an instruction to our Minister at Peking, directing him to see what could be done toward taking the question of the neutrality of the area of the International Settlement at Shanghai up with the contending factions concerned. The Ambassador stated that he thought this would be a good thing to do. I said that I felt certain that to make such advances would bring a request for our attitude with regard to the future status of the Settlement and I wondered whether the British Government would be willing that we should say that we were prepared to negotiate for a change in the status of the Settlement. The Ambassador stated that he was not instructed on the matter and he did not think the British Government was prepared to go that far. He said, after all, the Settlement was not American. I said no, that three Powers were immediately concerned—the Japanese, British and ourselves. He said, of course, there were other Powers involved. I assented to this. He stated that he thought that we could not go further than to express our willingness to consult the Powers with a view to discovering what their intentions would be in the matter.