The American Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs (Hirota)
On December 23, 1937, and on December 27 [28?], 1937, the American Ambassador had the honor to address to His Excellency the Minister for Foreign Affairs notes in which was set forth the interest of the United States in the preservation of the integrity of the Chinese Maritime Customs and in which desire was expressed for certain assurances by the Japanese Government calculated to maintain the integrity and the authority of the Customs.
The American Government, as one of the Governments interested in the Chinese Customs revenues, before examining any plan for settlement of the Customs problem, expects to receive from the Japanese Government broad and positive assurances that no action will be taken or countenanced which will disrupt the Chinese Customs Service or jeopardize the servicing of foreign loans and indemnity quotas from the Customs revenues and that the servicing of such obligations will be considered and treated as first charges on the customs revenue after the deduction of the costs of maintaining the Chinese Maritime Customs. [Page 741]The American Ambassador desires earnestly and emphatically to receive from the Japanese Government assurances of the foregoing tenor, and requests that the Japanese Government will make it clear that in any arrangement which may be reached the administrative machinery and procedure of the Customs will be carefully preserved and the due payment of foreign loan and indemnity quotas will be provided for.