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

No. 1389

Sir: I have the honor to report that the American Commercial Attaché on February 13, 1928, addressed the following note to the Legation concerning the work of the China Tariff Valuations Revision Commission, which is now holding sessions in Peking:

“The Chairman of the Commission for the revision of the import tariff valuations recently informed me that he anticipates that it will require about six weeks longer to complete the labors of the Commission. Of the ten foreign Powers represented on the Commission, Japan alone seems to be inspired with a desire to press for every possible advantage by way of valuations lower than those as proposed by the Chinese. Last June, while in Shanghai, my Japanese colleague informed me that the Japanese had very few counterproposals to offer to the valuations as proposed by the Chinese. I had informed him, in reply to his enquiry as to whether or not the American delegation had many counterproposals to offer, that we had very few. He then stated that the Japanese also had very few. After the Commission resumed its sessions in Peking, it developed that the Japanese had a counterproposal for nearly every item which had to do with Japan’s trade with China. Furthermore, during the progress of the Commission’s sessions, it has become increasingly apparent that while the other delegates have assumed a very conciliatory attitude and have shown a disposition to meet the Chinese a little more than half way on their proposals, the Japanese have thus far consistently stood out against making concessions on their [Page 384] counterproposals. In other words, they appear to be adopting the attitude of driving a bargain on every point at issue. This is a matter which would not concern the American delegate on this Commission were it not for the fact that should the Japanese be able by their obstinate tactics to prevail upon the Chinese to make considerable concessions in order to effect a successful conclusion of the work of the Commission, it will mean that relatively speaking, those commodities which have primarily to do with America’s trade with China will be obliged to pay more import taxes than will Japanese products.”

I have [etc.]

J. V. A. MacMurray