Memorandum by Mr. William T. Turner of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs

Conversation: Mr. Shun-ichiro Kawahara, Third Secretary, Japanese Embassy;
Mr. Dooman;30
Mr. Turner.

Mr. Dooman stated that although we had at this time no definite proposals to make, we wished to discuss in a general way the matter [Page 1055] of a consular convention. He stated that it was our understanding that the Japanese had been studying our Convention with Germany31 with a view toward using it as the basis for discussion of the proposed consular convention with Japan.

Mr. Kawahara stated that the Japanese Embassy had been studying our Consular Convention with Germany, and produced a memorandum, a copy of which is appended hereto,32 in which certain views in regard to necessary changes, and questions in regard to interpretation of terms, are set forth.

A brief and informal discussion of the points set forth in this memorandum revealed the fact that with one exception there is little which the Japanese suggest that would appear to be unacceptable to us. This exception is the matter, contained in II (2) a, of the inviolability of consular premises. Note, however, that the Japanese merely inquire as to the meaning of the word “inviolable” and whether the provision of the German Treaty containing that word is compatible with the Japanese law.

Mr. Dooman stated that there should be little difficulty in coming to agreement in regard to most of the points in this memorandum, but that he was not prepared at the moment to reply to all of the questions proposed in it.

Mr. Dooman then stated that although we had no proposals of a definitive nature we had certain suggested changes in mind which he would set forth. The suggestions, which he explained in some detail, are set forth in outline in the appended memorandum.33 He stated that he would welcome a study of these suggestions and that if the Japanese Embassy cared to present drafts of amendments to the German Treaty we would be prepared to give such drafts study.

Mr. Kawahara agreed to consider these matters and to return for further discussion at a later time.


Outline of Suggestions34

It seems advisable to include a clause authorizing consuls to exercise such generally accepted functions and prerogatives as those relating to passports, visas, registrations, et cetera.
In view of the fact that it is the practice in Japan to issue an exequatur only to the principal officer assigned to a consulate, the [Page 1056] wording of the third paragraph of article XVII of the German Treaty should be changed to allow for the continuance of this practice.
It is suggested that a clause specifically entitling consular officers to the protection of the government of the receiving state and to the assistance of the local authorities to assure the free exercise of their functions, should be included.
If, as in the case of the German Treaty, free entry of property intended for consular officers is to be provided, the bearing of monopoly laws as regards tobacco, et cetera, should be definitely established.
It is suggested that a provision be made for the exemption from taxation of Government officials, other than consular and diplomatic officers, who are stationed abroad.
A clause providing for the inviolability of official communications and for the right of consular officers to communicate with their diplomatic representatives and with other consuls of their country, is suggested.
A clause providing for the taking by consular officers of depositions or testimony for use in the courts of their country is suggested.
A clause permitting consular officers to communicate with their countrymen at all times, especially when the latter are imprisoned or detained, is suggested.
So far as ascertained, the old Convention of May 17, 1880,35 has not been terminated. A clause providing for the termination of this Convention and of the portion of the Treaty of 191136 relating to consular officers, should be included.
  1. Eugene H. Dooman of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs.
  2. Signed at Washington, December 8, 1923, Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. ii, p. 29.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Infra.
  5. Prepared by William T. Turner of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs.
  6. Signed at Tokyo; William M. Malloy (ed.), Treaties, Conventions, etc., Between the United States of America and Other Powers, 1776–1909 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1910), vol. i, p. 1024.
  7. Signed at Washington, February 21, 1911, Foreign Relations, 1911, p. 315.