893.102 Tientsin/241: Telegram

The Consul General at Tientsin (Caldwell) to the Secretary of State

80. Department’s 108, June 3, 2 p.m.58 I have not telegraphed concerning local situation because of lack of accurate detailed information, [Page 173] which I have been hoping to obtain. All that is known at present is that the British authorities have been notified that if the Chinese prisoners mentioned in my telegram No. 71 of May 12, noon,58a are not turned over by July 1st the Japanese military will take measures to deal with the situation, although they have assured the British that this is not an ultimatum; that the British Consul General59 is negotiating with the Japanese authorities concerning this matter, the nature of the negotiations not having been revealed to me beyond the statement by the British Consul General that the press report from London that he has been authorized to expel from his concession some 20 Chinese prisoners is entirely incorrect; and that from time to time since about May 24 American firms have experienced difficulty in transporting into British Concession (and occasionally the French Concession) rugs packed for export, dyed wool for spinning in French Concession, spun yarn, catskin plates, and lambskin plates.

The difficulties experienced at the Concession boundaries are probably related to the demands upon the British, but no notice of them has been given and no precise or official information concerning their nature has been obtainable so far. I wrote officially to the Japanese Consul General on the 24th and 25th, when these difficulties first arose, protesting against this unwarranted interference with legitimate American interests and asking for information as to the regulations responsible for the difficulties but I have received no reply and am writing to him again today on this same subject. With the aid of the personal intervention of a member of my staff and of a representative from the Japanese [Consulate?] General most of the detained commodities have eventually been passed, although a small quantity of dyed wool urgently needed by Nichols Carpet Company for spinning in the French Concession to complete a carpet order is still not allowed to pass, and the Japanese military who “inspected” it at the barrier after a long delay insisted that they buy it at their own price, which, of course, Nichols refused to agree to. Incidentally it might be mentioned that this wool was a part of two truck loads of goods which occupied almost the entire time of a representative of this Consulate General and a representative of the Japanese Consulate General for 2 days. Fortunately, only in a comparatively small proportion of cases have American-owned goods been stopped at the Concession boundaries.

When the difficulties at the Concession boundaries were brought to the attention of the Japanese Consulate General that office stated that they had heard nothing of any regulations responsible for them; eventually they stated that it had been ascertained that the regulations had been issued by the “Shimizu Unit” in the Third Special Area without [Page 174] the knowledge of higher military authorities either here or in Peiping, but that regardless of this the regulations could not be rescinded without authority from Peiping headquarters, which, presumably has not yet been forthcoming.

Repeated to Chungking, Shanghai, air mail to Tokyo.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Edgar George Jamieson.