893.05/263: Telegram

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

Department’s telegram No. 37, January 28, 5 p.m. As instructed by me, Perkins and Bucknell have discussed proposed amendments with the British Minister. His attitude is that it would be extremely unlikely that the Chinese would accept modifications proposed, and that, should they be disposed to consider them, they would be certain to introduce changes on their own account, thus reopening the whole matter and jeopardizing an agreement, which, if not ideal, does sufficiently protect both foreign interests and the peace and order of the settlement. Lampson feels therefore that it would be highly dangerous to make suggested proposals and he, for his part, would not be willing to support us in so doing. Thus we should be left alone in endeavoring to obtain changes in a text which satisfies the British Government, and so far as I am aware, also satisfies the other governments concerned.

The agreement has been obtainable only after the most painstaking efforts throughout twenty-eight meetings by the delegates, and I am strongly inclined to share the views of the British Minister that it is best for us to sign the agreement as it stands.

British Minister is prepared to sign himself and I hope that the Department will see the situation as we see it, and will therefore authorize me to join British Minister in signing this agreement as it was.

I had planned to leave Shanghai for Peiping on Wednesday morning, February 5, but in view of the importance of settling this question at the earliest possible moment, I shall delay my departure for a day in the hope that the Department will instruct me to sign the agreement as it stands. I would appreciate the Department giving me this authorization within next 24 hours.