893.102 S/235: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai ( Cunningham ) to the Secretary of State

The following telegram has been sent to the Legation:

“April 23, 2 p.m. Referring to my April 16, 6 p.m. In accordance with article 3 [15], land regulations, more than 25 [60?] ratepayers signed petitions to [Senior Consul to be] presented by Consul calling ratepayers’ meeting to consider following resolution: ‘That the Council be authorized and instructed to make further explanation with [to make forthwith] representations to the powers concerned with a view to securing an increase in the number of Chinese members of the Council from three to five.’ With the approval of the Consular Body the Senior Consul called, on behalf of the signatories to the petition, a special ratepayers’ meeting May 2nd to consider resolution.

Article 15 of land regulations provides that the Senior Consul present at the ratepayers’ meeting shall preside. I have been urged to be present in order that I may preside. I consider it would be to the best interest of all concerned and be but redeeming an implied obligation to increase the Chinese representations [representatives] to five members, yet, since the present position is due jointly to an address of a British ratepayer, I do not feel particularly anxious to preside. If the Legation or Department have any preferences in the matter, instructions are sought.
In the event that there should not be a quorum at the special ratepayers’ meeting [or] on account of absence [opposition?] quorum should fail to consider favorably the responsibilities [resolution?], it has been suggested by the British Consul General that article 28 authorizes the Consular Body and local Chinese authorities to reach an agreement as to the amendment to the land regulations. I am of the opinion that this article should be invoked should either of the suggested eventualities occur. Would such action receive the approval of the Minister and the Department? Should the Chinese carry on offensive propaganda before the ratepayers’ meeting, I should not be so favorably inclined to take this rather high-handed action.

Repeated to Department.”