The American Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs (Arita)
Excellency: I have the honor to invite the attention of Your Excellency to the several communications which I addressed to the Japanese Government expressing the high interest and importance which my Government attaches to the preservation of the integrity of the Chinese Maritime Customs. In addition to these written communications, I have also on several occasions brought this important matter orally to the attention of Your Excellency’s distinguished predecessors. For the purpose of convenience, I refer especially to my conversation with Mr. Hirota on November 26, 1937, and to the aide-mémoire which I left on that occasion:12 to a subsequent conversation with Mr. Hirota on November 28, 1937, and to my note no. 827 of the same date presented on that occasion; to my letter of December 5, 1937, to Mr. Hirota, referring to my previous conversations and communications under reference; to my note to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, no. 850 of December 23, 1937; to my conversation with the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs on December 28, 1937, and to my note no. 853 of the same date presented on that occasion; to my note to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, no. 874 dated January 31, 1938; to my aide-mémoire handed to Mr. Hirota on February 17, 1938; to my conversation with Mr. Hirota on May 17, 1938; and to my communication [Page 747]to General Ugaki, no. 963 dated June 15, 1938.13
It has recently been brought to the attention of my Government that the Chinese Maritime Customs at Canton was taken over by the Japanese consular and military authorities on November 9, 1938, and that the acting deputy commissioner in charge was informed by those authorities that no customs funds then owing or there in banks might be transferred to the Inspector General of Customs without the permission of the Japanese authorities.
Accordingly, acting under instructions from my Government, I have the honor formally to protest against the taking over of the Chinese Maritime Customs House at Canton by the Japanese authorities. My Government is of the opinion that this reported action constitutes an infringement of the international status of the Chinese Maritime Customs. My Government takes this occasion to reiterate and further to emphasize to the Japanese Government its very real interest in the preservation and integrity of the Chinese customs and in the safeguarding of the customs revenues.
I avail myself [etc.]