893.102 Kulangsu/163a: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Chargé in Japan ( Dooman )

155. 1. The Department is disturbed with regard to the situation at Kulangsu. The simple facts in this situation appear to be as follows: Kulangsu is an International Settlement where the rights and lawful responsibilities of several powers, including Japan and the United States, are identical; Japanese authorities recently, claiming that there was a local situation of disorder, landed certain armed forces and addressed to the Municipal Council various demands; authorities of certain other powers, including the United States, being apprised of the Japanese contention that there were conditions of disorder, and of the landing of Japanese armed forces, and being asked by the Municipal Council to land armed forces, landed armed forces; a number of conferences have since been held looking toward an amicable liquidation of the situation; the Japanese authorities persevere in insisting upon action by the Municipal Council which, if taken, would in effect nullify the international control of the Council and substitute therefor a control of the Settlement by Japanese authorities.

2. The American Consul at Amoy has reported to the Department various Japanese desiderata in this connection as proposed by the Japanese Consul General at Amoy. The Japanese Consul General withdrew some of his requests for modification of the Settlement’s administration but as he subsequently renewed some of the requests thus withdrawn, the situation appears to have increased in confusion. As an example of the unreasonable attitude of the Japanese authorities at Amoy, the Japanese Consul General recently requested an increase in the number of Japanese police which is understood to be beyond the Municipal Council’s financial capacity to provide. The Department points out in this connection that with the present Japanese sub-inspector and 12 Formosans, the Japanese representation on the police force would seem already to be disproportionately large. Furthermore, it is to be observed that, with 2 Japanese members of the Municipal Council for 18 Japanese ratepayers and, for example, only 1 American Councillor for 20 American ratepayers, there would seem to exist already a disproportionately large Japanese representation on the Settlement’s governing body in addition to that in the police.

3. The Department desires that, after consultation with your principally interested colleagues, you call at the Foreign Office and, giving an outline of the situation as it thus appears to the Department, [Page 122] say that the American Government relies upon the Japanese Government to cooperate in reaching a solution of the situation at Kulangsu by amicable processes and without further prejudicing of the situation by threat of or resort to intimidatory measures which would tend to complicate and render more difficult the reaching of an orderly and fair settlement of the points at issue. This Government is unable to believe that measures of this character represent the considered policy of the Japanese Government and is confident that the Japanese Government will without delay issue instructions to the Japanese authorities at Amoy to adopt a cooperative attitude. While it appears from the information available that the Municipal Council at Amoy, on its part, has exerted itself in an open minded way to seek an appropriate adjustment of points at issue and the American Consul at Amoy has used his influence toward this end, the Department is now specifically instructing the American Consul at Amoy by telegraph to continue using his influence with the Council to obtain full consideration of reasonable Japanese proposals for practicable modifications in the Settlement’s administration, provided that such requests do not militate against the Settlement’s international character, tend to violate the principle of international cooperation on a representative basis, or involve revision of the land regulations, which revision at this time would appear to be impracticable and inadvisable in view of the abnormal character of the present situation. You may say further that the Department inclines to the opinion, at the present stage of the situation, that adjustment of the matter locally between the various authorities at Amoy is to be desired. The situation nevertheless involves matters of principles and practice which are of interest to a number of governments and which are considered by this Government to be of importance; failure of the various authorities at Amoy to arrive, in an orderly and otherwise appropriate manner, at a reasonable and practicable solution would necessarily raise the questions involved to the status of matters for direct intergovernmental discussion through diplomatic channels.

Repeated to Chungking, Peiping, and Amoy.