The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State

No. 2725

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 2, January 4, 6 p.m.,4 relating to the Chinese customs, and especially to the last paragraph regarding a further approach to the Japanese Government in an endeavor to obtain from the Japanese authorities certain assurances requested in the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 339, December 12, 3 p.m.4

The Embassy will of course continue to emphasize to the Japanese Government the important and high concern with which the American Government regards the preservation of the integrity of the customs administration and the safeguarding of the revenues. There is no question but that this is one of the most important American interests in China, both as to substance and because of the principles involved. The Embassy is in complete accord with the Department’s view that it is desirable to avoid taking any steps which might lead to commitment in respect of the support of any specific plan which might be brought up by the other concerned Governments, and to continue to reiterate the importance of the preservation of the integrity of the customs. Those experienced in dealing with the Japanese feel that the only successful method of obtaining results is to continue to press a point home firmly but with constant repetition, with much the same effect as the constant dripping of water which finally wears away a stone.

That the Embassy has up to the present pursued this policy will be found by reviewing the steps taken since the matter first arose in the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 214, September 18, 3 p.m.,4 [Page 736]when on September 24 we approached the Foreign Office stating that we wished to associate ourselves with the British in urging the importance of preserving the integrity of the customs and salt administrations. Since September 24 Mr. Dooman has held three conversations with Mr. Yoshizawa, Chief of the Bureau of American Affairs at the Foreign Office; I have had two conversations with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and one conversation with the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs; and five notes or aide-mémoire have been presented to the Japanese Government on this subject. For ready reference there is attached hereto an itemized record of the dates upon which these several conversations were held and the several documents on the subject delivered to the Foreign Office.5 It will be noted that on each occasion and in every written document the interest of our Government in the preservation of the integrity of the customs was fully emphasized and the Embassy feels that if there is any chance of success it will lie in continuing to make representations along these lines.

Respectfully yours,

Joseph C. Grew
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