893.102S/1313: Telegram

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

125. Reference Cunningham’s despatch No. 9325, February 8, 1934,8 Cunningham now reports that as the result of negotiations between Japanese Consul General and the Chinese authorities at Shanghai the latter have forwarded to Nanking with recommendation for favorable consideration a proposal that extra-Settlement Roads police force shall have a Chinese Commissioner, one British Deputy Commissioner, one Japanese Assistant Commissioner and one Chinese Assistant Commissioner. British Consul General has supported such proposal and Secretary General Shanghai Municipal Council has expressed belief that proposal will be satisfactory to Council. Cunningham in conversation with Japanese Consul General expressed personal opinion that proposal would be satisfactory from American point of view and requests Legation’s confirmation. He adds, “while in principle I am opposed to any understanding either oral or written which seems to discriminate against the employment of Americans yet in consideration of all the circumstances it would seem very unwise to oppose this proposal provided it receives the sanction of the Chinese Government.”

I consider that proposal is as acceptable a one as is obtainable in this difficult and long-standing problem and am of the opinion that we should take a passive attitude, that is, accept the arrangement generally and in the event that the proposal is accepted by Nanking authorities but refrain from actively supporting the proposal for the reason that it seeks to fix the nationality of the foreign police officers rather than to provide for selection of them on the basis of availability and efficiency and the requirements of the positions (which would naturally take into consideration the preponderant Japanese or other foreign national interests in certain areas).
Cunningham in interview with Japanese Consul General on March 8 took the opportunity again to express the hope that American public utilities would have support of Japanese Consul General “in adjusting arrangements on the extra-Settlement Roads area.” Japanese Consul General replied that he would support any proposition [Page 608] made by American Consul General provided that the Japanese consumer is placed on an equal basis with other consumer[s] and without any discrimination against him.
  1. Not printed. Edwin S. Cunningham was Consul General and Senior Consul at Shanghai.