493.11/1566: Telegram

The Minister in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State

294. [From Perkins.] Department’s 173, May 7, 2 p.m. Following from the Minister at Nanking:

“I saw Minister for Foreign Affairs yesterday and conversed with him along the lines of the Department’s instructions under reference. Wang stated that their objections to original draft were three:

The proposal was too expensive. If they reached such an agreement with us other countries would ask some definite arrangements.
The proposal was one-sided and for an indefinite period.
As long as the unequal treaties continued it would be difficult to find members of such a commission who would not be prejudiced by that fact.

Because of (b) and (c) it would be difficult to defend such an arrangement before the people. I said that as regard[s] (a) I had no answer but that I thought it would be worth the expense to get the situation in regard to claims cleared up; that as regards (b) I was authorized to say that we would consider subjecting claims of [Page 1040] Chinese nationals against the Government of the United States to the examination of the same commission and I took the liberty of suggesting that as regards the terms of such a convention I thought it might be preferable to limit the convention to claims now outstanding and to such claims as might arise during the life of the convention with a provision that the commission might be continued at the end of the term of the convention if the two countries were satisfied with its working. I also stated that we would consider the making of the commission into a mixed one if the Chinese preferred. As regards (c) I said that I thought it reasonably sure that we could find a nationally known man of nonextraterritorial status to preside although I was not sure of the Department’s attitude on this. Dr. Wang said that this placed the matter in a new light and asked me to draft an agreement along these lines for his consideration. Will the Department give me an outline to follow which I can present to him?”

For the Minister: