611.9331/136: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul at Nanking (Price)

For Perkins: Reference to Department’s No. 9, January 7, 6 p.m., and Nanking’s January 29, 10 p.m. I desire that, on the basis of our note and Wang’s proposal as now reported by you, which differ little in substance, you endeavor to come to an agreement with Wang upon a mutually acceptable text which will clearly and indisputably affirm an understanding that the treaty provides for complete most-favored-nation treatment. When such formula has been agreed upon you may address a new note to Wang which shall contain the affirmation “I have the honor to state that it is the understanding of my Government that” et cetera, and shall be concluded “I have the honor to request an assurance on your part that this is also the National Government’s understanding” et cetera. Simultaneously Wang should address a note to you acknowledging the receipt of this note, quoting it in its entirety, and concluding with an assurance on his part that such is the National Government’s understanding, et cetera.

If you can reach an agreement on a text within the next forty-eight hours, you should refer it to the Department for approval. If not, you should report on situation. If this plan is followed to a successful conclusion, you will be expected at the moment of exchanging the notes to return to Wang and to have returned to you by Wang the notes previously given.

[Paraphrase.] Wang’s last proposal seems to cover all the Department has asked and, in a last resort, you might adopt it in the note you address to him for him to repeat to you. The Department wishes you to understand that it seeks, most of all, to have this matter promptly and adequately concluded, and the Department does not insist on any particular phraseology so long as the adopted formula is comprehensive, clear and unequivocal in assuring that the interpretation of most-favored-nation treatment was intended by and is to be put upon the treaty. The above is repeated as No. 45 to the Legation. [End paraphrase.]