The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Bingham) to the Secretary of State
[Received May 14.]
Sir: I have the honor to refer to my telegram No. 270 of May 7, 11 a.m.,65 referring to a meeting of the Executive Council of the Consortium held on May 6. There is attached hereto a copy of Mr. [Page 589]Lamont’s letter to the Embassy on this subject, with its enclosure. In discussing this matter with Mr. Lamont, he said he had very little to add except that Count Kano, the Japanese representative, read a memorandum66 which was surprisingly frank and came out with the statement that there will be an endeavor by banking and industrial interests in Japan to curb the militarists. The memorandum then referred to the Consortium and said the Japanese group would favor a continuance of the Consortium, with the elimination of the obstructive provisions. In the subsequent discussion, Mr. Lamont said that to leave the shell of the old Consortium retaining only the political provisions, when the very name of Consortium was obnoxious to China, seemed to him of doubtful wisdom. Later Count Kano said he agreed with this and considered that probably a fresh start would be more advisable. However he also added that the Japanese Government was on the verge of concluding a treaty with China which might have made the existing Consortium all right. Mr. Lamont said he pressed him somewhat on this vague statement and considered that Count Kano realized he had overstepped the mark and rapidly withdrew from the inference he had given concerning an early treaty between Japan and China. Count Kano then said that Ambassador Yoshida was very anxious to see Mr. Lamont, with the result that a meeting was arranged for that afternoon.
Mr. Lamont discussed the possibility of a new Association with Ambassador Yoshida and asked as regards this British suggestion what would be the attitude of the Japanese Government. At first Ambassador Yoshida said he felt his Government would interpose objections because they were very anxious for international cooperation as regards China, and particularly desirous that anything that had been accomplished should not be undone. Mr. Lamont said he could not believe the Japanese Government was more anxious for international cooperation than was the United States Government, and he specifically said to Ambassador Yoshida: Would you not from a political angle, since the Consortium is particularly obnoxious to China, feel it more advisable to wipe it out and start again? Ambassador Yoshida replied: Yes, I feel the Japanese Government would agree on the whole if the State Department approved such a new, loose-knit Association as was proposed. Mr. Lamont said he then very clearly expressed to Ambassador Yoshida the hope that, if his Government did interpose any statement in regard to the British suggestion, Japanese assent to the wiping-out of the present Consortium would not be given on condition that a new Association be formed [Page 590]since any such point of view of the Japanese Government would rapidly leak out and the Chinese would say this new Association is merely the old obnoxious Consortium under a new name. Yoshida replied he very clearly saw that point of view and would give expression of it to his Government.
In conclusion, Mr. Lamont stated that he was surprised at the frankness of the memorandum which Count Kano read before the Executive Council of the Consortium meeting in that he twice cracked the Japanese militarists and that Count Kano was agreeable that copies of this memorandum should later be distributed to members of the Executive Council. When Mr. Lamont receives a copy of this he agreed to furnish one to the Embassy.
Counselor of Embassy