893.102S/1228: Telegram

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

298. Your 961, August 16, 7 p.m., 969, August 18, 5 p.m., and 1002, August 23, 6 p.m.

[Page 642]
In view of the obvious desirability of some reasonably acceptable settlement of the vexatious extra-Settlement questions, and as the agreement under reference appears to be generally acceptable to the Chinese authorities and appears to be opposed by only one of the treaty powers, the Department approves your instructions to Shanghai and is in general accord with the views expressed in your telegrams of August 16, 7 p.m. and August 18, 5 p.m.
In paragraph 5 of your telegram No. 969, August 18, 5 p.m., you state that you are informed that it is the intention of the Municipal Council to lay the agreement before the ratepayers for approval. If this is done, it would seem that the most practical course of action for the present would be for those in favor of the agreement to attempt to win over a majority of the ratepayers to that view in order that a ratification of the agreement may be ensured. As it appears that the British Government is also in favor of the successful negotiation of this agreement, it would seem that the American and British Consuls General at Shanghai might assist in this course of action by informing the various American and British organizations in Shanghai, separately of course, that they and their Governments were satisfied with the agreement and desired to see it put into effect.
If the ratepayers should ratify the agreement, it could be made effective throughout the extra-Settlement area except in any part where effective opposition to its execution might be offered.
It is suggested, however, that unless there is reasonable probability that a majority of the ratepayers are in favor of the agreement, it would be well to consider the advisability of deferring for the present any action looking to the ratepayers voting upon the agreement.
Consideration should also be given to the complication of publicity referred to in your August 23, 6 p.m.
It is still the hope of the Department that the question can be settled locally and the views expressed herein are forwarded as of possible assistance to the Consul General and to you.