The Consul General at Canton (Myers) to the Secretary of State
[Received 9:30 p.m.]
13. Reference is made to my despatch number 4, December 30 and my telegram No. 6, January 5, 6 p.m.2 Information given me in confidence this morning by my British colleague was to the effect that, acting under instructions from his Government, he informed the Japanese Consul General on January 17 that Japanese transports flying the commercial flag and the transport pennant will be permitted in moderate numbers, upon giving 48 hours notice, to call at Hong Kong for the landing and taking on of passengers subject to the customary requirement for passports, passenger lists, et cetera.
Although not made as a contingent concession it is believed that the changed attitude on the part of the British will greatly enhance the prospects of an early settlement (as desired by the British) of the matter of the operation of fairly frequent passenger service by commercial vessels between the two ports pending opening of the river to general commercial traffic. The Japanese Consul General has suggested as the basis for the operation of such a service a ratio of one call of a British vessel at Canton to two calls of the Japanese transports at Hong Kong. No Japanese transports have thus far called in Hong Kong. By special agreement a British passenger ship came to Canton January 11 and returned to Hong Kong 17th.
The Japanese Consul General according to my British informant is prepared to discuss opening of rail communications to Hong Kong provided a suitable formula (which will not prejudice the Japanese stand toward operation of railways elsewhere in China) can be found and exploratory conversations are expected to take place shortly. This change in the Japanese attitude (which has opposed early resumption of traffic on the Kowloon–Canton Railroad) may have been induced by realization that the line could be used for many months only for passenger traffic due to demolition of bridges.
Repeated to Chungking, Peiping, Shanghai. Shanghai please repeat to Embassy at Tokyo.
- Neither printed.↩