893.00 Nanking/248: Telegram

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


Supplemental to my March 30, 3 p.m., and my March 30, 8 p.m.

During my absence from Shanghai, preliminary discussions were carried on by Cunningham and Paxton with G. Zay Wood, who represented General Huang Fu (see my telegram February 29, 5 p.m., paragraphs 4 and 5). In the course of these preliminary discussions Wood not only attempted to pursue the bargaining procedure and brought into the discussions matters of concession made by the British and Japanese during their respective negotiations in regard to this matter, but also he confused the discussions further by presenting or suggesting points of an alternative nature as to which there was doubt regarding the degree of his authority. Therefore, I found upon my return to Shanghai, March 25, that the entire basis for negotiations with Huang was quite indefinite, despite the effective and very able work done on our behalf.
Huang’s prestige, meanwhile, had been impaired by the British Government’s rejection of the arrangement which the British Minister had already initialed, and in order to make amends for this impairment of his influence Huang had gone to Nanking. Clearly he feared to take the risk of coming to Shanghai for negotiations with me unless he was convinced of my readiness to reach with him an agreement which, from a political viewpoint, would be possible for him to accept. He came to Shanghai, arriving the morning of the 29th, after several days of dealing through intermediaries. I met with him, by arrangement, immediately after his arrival. With the assistance of Cunningham and Bucknell I negotiated with Huang until after midnight, when agreement on all points of the settlement itself had been reached.
Although manifestly rather fearful lest the Nationalist sensibilities should be antagonized by him and, above all, frightened lest, as had happened in the case of the British, I should fail in the end to carry the matter to a conclusion, Huang was in a settling mood, through the force of his own political exigencies. Therefore, on the condition that the negotiations could be pressed to a conclusion practically [Page 335] at one sitting, there was presented the most favorable opportunity for a satisfactory settlement.
Yesterday evening the several notes were signed and the duplicate copies of each were actually exchanged, bearing the date Shanghai, March 30. However, both [Huang] and I hope that he may be able to make arrangements that will make it possible for me to proceed to Nanking for participation with the Chinese authorities in ceremonies incident to the raising of our flag with full honors and for a technical reopening of the consulate. He does not yet have assurance, however, that it will be possible for him to make arrangements which would be considered adequate by me or the acceptance of which he himself would advise. In case Huang is successful, I shall leave tomorrow for Nanking, with appropriate naval escort, on the flagship of the Yangtze Patrol commander. Huang is most anxious, in that event, and I have acceded to his request, that the original documents which are to be exchanged between us at that time should be dated (probably April 2) as having been concluded at Nanking.
As to release, there has not been as yet any arrangement.
This telegram communicated to Legation.