393.115 Standard Vacuum Oil Co./83: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai ( Gauss ) to the Secretary of State

91. Our 1094, August 11, 4 p.m.79 regarding desire of Standard Vacuum Oil Company to despatch its motor vessel Meinan to Chin-kiang [Page 358] and Wuhu. Number of representations were made to the Japanese and finally in January an officer of the Japanese Consulate General approached a member of my staff and stated that if application for a permit were made on the basis that the cargo carried was for the use of the American Navy a permit would be issued even though all such cargo might not be naval. As practically none of the cargo to be carried was to be for the United States Navy, the officer mentioned was told we could not be party to such an arrangement. However, the company made arrangements direct as the result of which a permit was issued for one trip to carry supplies for “foreign navies”. The Meinan which actually is carrying very little for the United States Navy or any other navy sailed January 31 and has arrived at Chinkiang. The Standard Vacuum Oil Company is understood also to have almost concluded an arrangement with the Japanese Naval authorities whereby its motor vessel Meiyun (1491 December 22, 1 p.m.81) will be theoretically chartered to the Japanese naval authorities and brought from Kiukiang to Shanghai for repairs.

In proposing these devious arrangements the Japanese have stressed friendly relations between the United States and Japan and are probably seeking to keep us quiet and play us off against the British. In view of the subterfuges recorded and the secrecy enjoined it seems clear the Japanese do not wish it to appear that the Yangtze has been opened to commercial shipping.

Repeated to Peiping and Tokyo.

Code text by mail to Nanking.