893.841 Surtax/25: Telegram

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

805. 1. Legation’s No. 773, July 29, 5 p.m. The following reply July 29, 4 p.m., was sent by the Senior Minister to the Senior Consul:

“Please wire as soon as possible whether consular body are convinced that the duties which [according to] paragraph 4 of your telegram would be imposed upon various consulates can be effectively carried out by them.

Also whether in opinion of military and naval commanders necessary protection outside Settlement likewise mentioned in paragraph 5 is a practical proposal.”

2. In a telegram dated August 6, 5 p.m., in response to an inquiry from Cunningham as to his participation in discussions of consular body regarding tonnage dues, the Legation advised him as follows:

“August 6, 5 p.m. Your August 5, 5 p.m. While I do not consider that you should unduly restrict yourself in your discussions with your colleagues of the Senior Minister’s telegram, it is obvious from the Department’s instructions, repeated to you in the Legation’s August 4, 6 p.m., that you should not lead your colleagues to believe that you can be associated in any plan which directly or in the last analysis may involve the use of American military or naval forces. You should avoid on the other hand any such categorical statement, unless necessary, as might encourage the Chinese to increased illegality by reason of the belief that the United States would in no case use force to protect its treaty rights.”

3. Following telegram, dated August 9th, was sent by Senior Consul at Shanghai to Senior Minister:

  • “(1) Referring to Your Excellency’s telegram July 29th. The consular body carefully considered these questions on August 5th and answered both in the affirmative. It was the opinion that should the Customs continue to issue assessments of duties due on imported articles the carrying out of the fourth paragraph was easily within the power of the various consulates. If the Customs however do not continue to function in this capacity the various consulates would meet the difficulties which they did not regard as insuperable since each would be able to draw upon the general Chamber of Commerce for experts in appraising merchandise, and warehouses could be secured in principle as by the Customs at present. The consul general for the United States of America made it clear that he was not authorized to subscribe completely to this policy.
  • (2) In regard to paragraph 5 of my telegram July 27th the naval authorities considered the proposal as quite practical. The following is the report of the senior naval officer: ‘At a meeting held on the 4th August at which the British, French, Japanese, United States, Spanish, Italian, and the Portguese senior naval officers were present, the question [Page 451] of preventing interference with foreign shipping in the event of the imposition of extratreaty taxes was discussed. As regards the protection of wharves outside the Settlement area, the only nations present [owning?] such wharves are the American, British, and Japanese. It is understood that guards will be provided by the nations concerned. As regards the protection of ships and cargoes in the stream, it was proposed that warships of each nation should look after the sections in their immediate vicinity and protect the property of any other nation in that section. This was agreed to, and the following areas were provisionally allocated: Upper section A to American Navy; upper section B to Portuguese Navy; upper section C and section 1 to Japanese Navy; sections 2 and 3 to French Navy; sections 4, 5 and 6 to British Navy; section 7 to Spanish Navy; section 8 to Italian Navy; Sections 9 and 10 to British Navy; section 11 and [apparent omission] belong to American Navy. It was considered that continual patrol would probably not be necessary but that each warship would require to keep an armed launch or boat ready to proceed at once if any interference was observed.’
  • (3) The senior American naval officer has handed to the consul general for the United States of America the following comments: ‘That contingent on the receipt of proper instructions from superior authorities I believe it is practicable to protect American interests in the subject [sic] under control.’
  • (4) With reference to proposed protection of foreign wharves outside Settlement limits (i. e., on Pootung shore of harbor) it may be added that such protection has been in operation for some months past, guards having only recently been withdrawn from the west point for climatic reasons.”

4. I assume than [that?] an early meeting of the diplomatic body will be called to discuss the foregoing telegram. I do not believe that the Heads of Legation are in any doubt as to our policy as set forth in the Department’s 304, August 2, 1 p.m., and preceding. I shall, however, make certain at any such meeting that [there is] no misapprehension.