The Minister in China ( MacMurray ) to the Secretary of State

No. 935

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram No. 156, February 19, 3 p.m., regarding the appointment of Mr. Kishimoto, a Japanese subject, Commissioner of Customs at Dairen, to be Chief Inspector of that Service.

In this regard Mr. Mayer, the Counselor of the Legation, recently had an illuminating conversation with Mr. Edwardes, newly appointed [Page 465] Inspector General of Customs, when the latter told him of the impending appointment of Mr. Kishimoto and made some interesting observations in regard to the effort he had made for the past year or so with a view to giving the Japanese more participation in the Customs. Mr. Edwardes said that he had felt for a long time the wisdom of such a move, if for nothing else in order to appease the Japanese who felt their present position with the Customs to be most inequitable and eminently undesirable. In making known these personal views to the Japanese Minister here, and to Mr. Saburi,22 on different informal occasions, Mr. Edwardes found them both entirely reasonable in their wishes regarding Japanese participation in the Customs. It would appear indeed not unlikely that the strong attitude adopted by the Japanese Government in support of the maintenance of the Customs (see paragraph 3 of my telegram No. 114, February 5, 9 p.m.) was due primarily, at least, to the rapprochement between Mr. Edwardes and the Japanese, as discussed above, and the latter’s feeling that Mr. Edwardes’ ideas would prevail if the Customs continued to function and he were made Chief Inspector. It is of course possible that an understanding of sorts was arrived at between Mr. Edwardes and the British, on the one hand, and the Japanese Minister on the other.

It is yet too soon to be able to know definitely whether the Nationalists can be prevailed upon, along with the Northerners, not to disrupt the Customs service. But, if this happily may be achieved, it will be due substantially to the steadfast and clearcut support which the Japanese Government has given to the attempt of the British, French, Italian and Netherlands Governments to preserve this last financial, and indeed governmental, link between the Chinese people as a whole and the Foreign Powers.

I have [etc.]

J. V. A. MacMurray
  1. S. Saburi, Director of Commercial Affairs in the Japanese Foreign Office.