893.01 Manchuria/1279: Telegram

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

263. Your 437, August 26, 3 p.m.

Department appreciates the perplexities of the situation. Department desires that action of American and British consular representatives be the same.
Department notes Russian Consul General’s reasoning and Adams’ and your inclination toward acceptance.
Please discuss matter with British Embassy. Without full knowledge of all the circumstances and of your reasoning in concurring with Adams’ view, Department hesitates to offer more than tentative suggestions. If it be a fact that there is not involved “anything more than viewing the naval display” and being present in a section reserved for consular and other officials, it would seem to Department that informal acceptance followed by attendance would have little if any political or legal implication. Department feels that fine points of protocol and diplomatic technicalities need not and should not be followed in Manchuria to such an extent as to inject unnecessary difficulties and irritants into a situation where local authorities and foreign officials are trying to carry on with some measure of elasticity. Department inclines toward avoiding acceptance, subject, however, to specification in paragraph 1 above, but Department relies on Legation’s and Adams’ resourcefulness and discretion to work out with the British a decision and procedure, affirmative or negative, combining plain common sense practicability with respect for the principle and position of policy to which both Governments are committed.
Report promptly on decision arrived at and any later developments.