The Minister in China (MacMurray) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 13—5:45 a.m.]
551. 1. Foreign Office has informed the Ministers of treaty powers of its desire to have existing tonnage dues for ships of more [Page 434] than one hundred and fifty tons raised from 4 mace per ton to 5, thus obtaining funds estimated at one million taels per annum with which to defray the expenses of the Chinese diplomatic and consular service. There is a disposition on the part of the Ministers to recommend to their Governments such an increase provided the Peking regime can agree that Southern factions acquiesce so far as to assure that collection by the Customs for this purpose will not be made the occasion for hostile action by the South. Such an understanding between North and South would be a step towards unity in the foreign relations of the country and would tend to reaffirm the validity of treaty obligations.
2. I request authorization to assent to the increase if circumstances warrant.