Mr. D. Nohara, Representative of the Japanese Group in the China Consortium, to Sir Charles Addis, Representative of the British Group23

My Dear Sir Charles: I beg to refer to your letter of the 19th instant, in which you communicated to me a proposal put forward by Mr. T. V. Soong the Chinese Minister of Finance. I duly transmitted the substance of your letter to my principals in Japan and I have now received a message in reply submitting observations in the sense outlined below.

In the first place, it is perhaps superfluous to mention, because, I am sure you realize the fact quite well, that the Japanese Group is always considering not less intently, but probably more so than any other country, the necessity for rendering assistance to China by the more advanced nations, in order to secure her rehabilitation. At the same time, however, it is felt essential that this assistance should be given to her in such a manner and at such a time as to afford every hope of success in obtaining the long desired tranquility at home and bringing about harmonious relations with foreign countries.

With regard then to the present proposal to form a Consultative [Page 506] Committee to be composed of representatives of the several countries named, the Japanese Group feels bound to mention that there are many widely-spread rumours and suspicions prevalent as to the real intention of Mr. Soong in the various plans recently initiated by him, and that even if it be conceded that he wishes to avail himself of the help and advice of a Consultative Committee for the proper purpose, it is not at the same time possible to conceive that such a committee set up in the form suggested, would be complete and that it could be authoritative and effective, in view of the special position and influence of Japan in the Far East. Furthermore, its constitution might easily produce a feeling of irritation in Japan by no means assisting in the development of more friendly sentiments, but perhaps leading to untoward relations between the two countries, and so disturbing the peace.

Turning to the Consortium itself, the true spirit with which it is inspired is that of bringing about co-operation instead of competition between the four countries, Great Britain, America, France and Japan, of which it is comprised and this principle extends not only to the granting of loans but also to the solution of the many other problems which beset Chinese finance. With this thought in mind, therefore, and the possibility that many questions may arise, and perhaps actions be taken in the proposed committee coming within the scope of the Consortium, the Japanese Group cannot but feel that the suggested participation of Representatives of some of the countries concerned in the Consortium may eventually lead to difficulties and produce trouble between the Committee and the Consortium, which might conceivably bring about the disruption of the Consortium itself.

Under all the circumstances, therefore, the Japanese Group very much regrets that for the very potent reasons given, it views with apprehension and disfavour the creation of the Consultative Committees contemplated.

Yours sincerely,

D. Nohara
  1. Copy handed to the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs by the Counselor of the Japanese Embassy, August 25.