The Chargé in China (Gauss) to the Secretary of State

No. 3176

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Legation’s despatch No. 3165, November 30, 1934,22 in regard to the Extra-Settlement road question at Shanghai, and to enclose for the Department’s information a copy of the Shanghai Consul General’s despatch to the Legation No. 8169, December 1, 1934.22

With the Consul General’s despatch were enclosed a memorandum of a conversation he had had with the Japanese Consul General and a copy of a letter which the Japanese Consul General has addressed to the Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Council which contains the “fundamental views” of the Japanese Government on the scope of the proposed Extra-Settlement roads area agreement.

The Japanese proposal, which the Japanese Consul General announced an intention of presenting to the Mayor of Greater Shanghai on November 29, contemplates a new delimitation and simplification of the boundaries of the Extra-Settlement area which will provide “one administrative region circumscribed by distinctly clear boundary lines,” and thus avoid possible conflicts of authority which would likely arise were the present boundaries maintained without modification.

The Japanese Consul General requested that Mr. Cunningham urge upon the Mayor of Greater Shanghai the desirability of hastening agreement upon this matter, but Mr. Cunningham was loath to do so without the Legation’s prior instructions for the reason that he felt it would be difficult to confine his remarks to the subject of the Extra-Settlement roads question without appearing to associate himself completely with the Japanese demands.

There is also enclosed a copy of the Legation’s instruction in reply to Mr. Cunningham22 from which the Department will note that the [Page 614] Legation has agreed with him that the “fundamental views” of the Japanese, if accepted by the Chinese, would be beneficial to the administration of the area, but has expressed the belief that he should not associate himself with the Japanese demands by calling upon the Mayor for the purpose of urging their acceptance.

The Legation has, however, expressed the opinion that, should Mr. Cunningham have an opportunity of broaching the subject informally to the Mayor, he might appropriately inquire whether progress is being made in the efforts for a settlement and express the hope that an agreement mutually acceptable to both Chinese and foreign interests may be reached. He has been cautioned, on the other hand, that in any conversation he may have with the Mayor, he should avoid discussion of the Japanese demands and abstain from endorsing the “fundamental views” of the Japanese Government.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.