Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State (Johnson)

The Japanese Ambassador called on me this morning and referred to the conversation which Mr. MacMurray had with Mr. Debuchi, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, concerning the Federal Wireless question48 and asked me whether we had considered the suggestions [Page 481] made in that conversation. I was led to infer from his statement that he had believed that Mr. MacMurray had assented to the point of view of Mr. Debuchi. I told the Ambassador that I did not understand that Mr. MacMurray had assented to anything in this connection. It was my understanding that when Mr. MacMurray arrived in Tokyo Mr. Debuchi asked to see him and handed to him the memorandum which Mr. MacMurray had transmitted to us for our information; that we had not had time to go into the matter definitely as we had believed that both Mr. Debuchi and the Ambassador understood that in so far as the Government was concerned we were only interested in the principles involved, namely, that there should be no monopoly of communication and that there would be installed communication between us and China and that as long as these principles were observed, we proposed to leave the rest of the details to the business interests involved. I said that the memorandum would be referred to the Radio Corporation for its comment.

The Ambassador said that he understood from his government that the British Government had written to us asking the United States for a reconsideration of its attitude toward the Marconi interests in radio communication in China and for a statement as to our attitude toward the Japanese proposals of December, 1924, for a wireless consortium. I told the Ambassador that the British Embassy here in Washington had indeed written to us about this matter but that they had not mentioned the Marconi interests other than to mention them in connection with an inquiry as to what our attitude was toward the Japanese proposals of December, 1924. I told the Ambassador that it was my intention to refer this communication to the Radio Corporation and that doubtless we would reply to the Ambassador along the lines of our reply to the Japanese Government of October, 1926, in which reply we had set forth our attitude toward the proposals for a radio consortium.

The Ambassador stated that he recalled that we were opposed to the consortium. I got the correspondence out and read over to the Ambassador our communication to him pointing out that we had said to him that we were doubtful whether such a proposal would be acceptable to the Chinese, and that, after all, any proposal regarding cooperation in the matter of radio communication in China was worthless unless it had the assent and good will of the Chinese Government. I pointed out that we had asked the Japanese Government at that time to inform us whether the Chinese Government had indicated to it the approval of this proposal and said that we had no reply on that matter. The Ambassador said that the Chinese Government had made no reply to that and that his Government was of the same mind as ours on the subject now although they had considered that the consortium would [Page 482] be a valuable method. He admitted that the consortium plan would get us nowhere if the Chinese did not accept it.

N[elson] T. J[ohnson]
  1. See teelgram No. 130, Nov. 29, from the Ambassador in Japan, p. 478.