693.116/08: Telegram

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

628. My 619, July 24, 11 a.m. Following from American Consul General at Canton:

“July 26, 6 p.m. Legation’s July 24, noon. This morning British Consul General and I called by appointment on Marshal Chen and Chairman Lin86 and read aide-mémoire summarizing previous representations and emphasizing importance and urgency which our Governments attached to this question. Although they affirmed the purpose of the local government to observe the treaties they professed to be unfamiliar with the facts and without authority to deal with the matter. They said that they understood that our representations had been discussed at a meeting of the Southwest Political Council and that a committee had been appointed to consider the situation. We went over the situation emphasizing that although 3 weeks had elapsed since we had first instituted our representations during which time the foreign firms had been shut out of kerosene market and were consequently suffering serious losses, we were still without any word of what action the authorities proposed to take in response to our representations. They promised to present our case speedily and sympathetically to the Southwest Political Council but were unable to give an indication of when an answer might be expected. With that answer we had to be content. Although the interview was cordial, we gained the impression from their tactics of setting up the Southwest Political Council as a shield that the situation is not hopeful. In a casual conversation with an official of the office of the Inspector General of Foreign Affairs yesterday Consul Paxton gathered the impression that up to then no instructions had been received from Nanking by the Inspector.

Commissioner of Customs officially informed me on July 24th that he has been instructed to reimpose prohibition on import without permit of liquid fuel of over 32 degrees specific gravity. Socony has applied to the Special Liquid Fuel Bureau for a permit to import 550 tons of such oil and has been refused. Repeated to Nanking.”

Counselor of Legation at Nanking has been instructed to renew representations at the Foreign Office and American Consul General at Canton has been instructed to continue to press for local settlement. Both were again directed to stress importance and urgency with which the Department views the matter.

  1. Lin Shen, President (Chairman) of the National Government.