The Consul General at Shanghai (Cunningham) to the Minister in China (Johnson)12

No. 7933

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Legation’s instruction of April 26, 1934, transmitting a copy of its despatch No. 2681 of the same date to the Department13 regarding extra-Settlement [Page 609] roads. The Legation requests my comment in regard to certain items in the Japanese Consul General’s proposal, with particular reference to the attitude of the British Consul General and the Shanghai Municipal Council thereanent.

In reply I have to state that the British Consul General has stated to me that he informed the Japanese Consul General that he could not accept on behalf of British interests the paragraph under Article 1 (b), reading as follows:

“The Deputy Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner shall be foreigners whose nationals constitute the largest in number of foreign residents of different nationalities residing in the Extra Settlement Roads or whose nationals’ property constitutes the largest in value of foreign properties of different nationalities existing in the said Roads.”

Sir John14 said that he told Mr. Ishii15 there were other factors in the situation which should be considered in addition to the number of residents and amount of property interests. For example, the police force of the International Settlement is predominantly British and he believed that was also a reason for having a British subject as the senior foreign officer of the extra-Settlement Roads force. He said he had submitted to the Japanese Consul General a revision of Article 1 which the latter had taken with him to Tokyo but that he had not yet had a talk with Mr. Ishii since the latter returned about the beginning of May, and he did not know what instructions Mr. Ishii had received while in Japan.

With reference to the statement in Note 1, that in carrying out his duties the Deputy Commissioner is to consult with the foreign Assistant Commissioner but not with the Chinese Assistant, Sir John said he was certain such a distinction would not be acceptable to the Chinese and might result in wrecking the whole agreement, and he had suggested that it might be obviated by leaving it out of the agreement itself but having an understanding between the Shanghai Municipal Council and the Japanese Consul General that the Deputy Commissioner was to exercise the authority vested in him by the agreement after consultation with the foreign Assistant Commissioner.

The Shanghai Municipal Council, as I understand, take a view similar to that stated above with regard to the two items in question, although they believe the question of nationality of the police officers is primarily one to be adjusted between the British and the Japanese authorities.

Respectfully yours,

Edwin S. Cunningham
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in China in his despatch No. 2724, May 15, 1934; received June 18.
  2. Neither printed.
  3. Sir John Brenan, British Consul General at Shanghai.
  4. Itaro Ishii, Japanese Consul General at Shanghai.