893.102S/2379

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

No. 5158

Sir: In confirmation of our telegram 1152, November 15, 6. p.m.,74a I have the honor to report that, in compliance with the Department’s telegraphic instructions via Shanghai 455, November 7, 10 p.m.,74a and 473, November 13, midnight,74a relating to the Chinese courts in the French Concession at Shanghai, I instructed Mr. Crocker, First Secretary of the Embassy, to leave with Mr. Terazaki, Chief of the American Bureau of the Foreign Office, on November 15, 1940, a statement marked “oral” in the sense of the Department’s instructions.

Mr. Crocker requested that the statement be regarded as coming from me to the Foreign Minister and Mr. Terazaki accepted it with that understanding and stated that he would see that it came promptly to the Minister’s hands. Mr. Crocker pointed out that the original statement had been drafted to include an expression of hope on the part of the American Government that Japanese officials at Shanghai would be instructed by the Japanese Government to avoid any action which might result in altering, without the consent of the Chinese Government at Chungking, the status of the Chinese courts in the French Concession, but that before the statement could be prepared we were informed that unfortunately the status of the courts had in fact been altered; it had therefore been necessary to revise the statement to include an expression of regret and disappointment on the part of the American Government that the Government of Japan should have deemed it proper, without the permission of the Chinese Government at Chungking, to undertake to alter the status [Page 893]of the Chinese courts which operate in the French Concession at Shanghai. Mr. Terazaki made no comment.

A copy of the “oral” statement under reference is enclosed.

Respectfully yours,

Joseph C. Grew
[Enclosure]

Oral Statement by the American Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs (Matsuoka)

The United States Government has been apprised that French Concession authorities at Shanghai and officials of the Japanese Government there have come to an agreement for the transfer to the Nanking Regime, sponsored by the Japanese Government, of control over the Chinese courts situated in the French Concession in that city. The fact that a considerable portion of the American community at Shanghai resides in the Concession mentioned, as well as the necessity in which American citizens at Shanghai find themselves of having recourse to the Chinese courts in the French Concession in those legal activities which involve Chinese defendants residing in the French Concession, as well as the general interest taken by the United States Government in the institutions which serve the Shanghai area, give to that Government a concern of material character in any alteration of the status of the Chinese courts which function in the French Concession. The United States Government is of the opinion that, for any lawful changes in the status of the courts mentioned, the consent of the National Government of China at Chungking is requisite. Bearing in mind the considerations mentioned above, the United States Government expresses its regret and disappointment that the Government of Japan should have deemed it proper, without the permission of the Chinese Government at Chungking, to undertake to alter the status of the Chinese courts which operate in the French Concession in Shanghai. The Japanese Government will of course realize that the tendency of this action will be to increase the problems in the relations between Japan and the United States.

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