693.002/1131: Telegram

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

1520. Department’s 241, October 14 [11], 7 p.m.

The substance of the first paragraph communicated to the Inspector General October 17. Sir Frederick inquired whether I would be willing to write him a letter setting forth the views of the Department as orally expressed by me and he was informed that the matter would be referred to the Department for instructions. Please advise whether such a statement may be communicated to the Inspector General in writing. It was inferred from the wording in the reference telegrams that the statement was to be made orally and not in writing. It seemed clear that Sir Frederick wished to have in his possession a written statement which he could show to the Japanese authorities.
In the course of the conversation Sir Frederick remarked that he considered that the American Government was [being?] inconsistent when it states that it has carefully abstained from any interference with the administration of the customs and at the same time lodges an objection to the appointment of a qualified treaty power national to the post of Commissioner at Shanghai. Sir Frederick from the beginning has laid more emphasis on the preservation of the integrity of the Inspectorate General than he has on the question of appointing a Japanese to the commissionership.
The Inspector General has and myself [sent me?] a copy of a letter addressed by [him?] on October 13 to Dr. Kung in which he stated inter alia that inasmuch as the protests lodged at Tokyo by the American and British Ambassadors have proved ineffective and because of the Inspector General’s inability to resist successfully any longer the Japanese demands he has been reluctantly compelled to arrange that, on the expiry of the present Commissioner’s contract next month, the [Administrative] Commissioner, Mr. Akatani, who joined the service in 1907, will take charge of the Shanghai customs temporarily and that Akatani’s successor as Administrative Commissioner will be an experienced officer of British nationality. The Inspector General also stated in the letter that it is generally considered that the nationality of the Shanghai Commissioner is of lesser import than the maintenance of the Inspectorate General’s position in occupied China, that is to say, it is, in his opinion, preferable for the Inspector General if possible to stand fast here and to continue to exercise the partial authority he now exerts than for him to be forced to leave and surrender control. The Inspector General added that he had unavailingly employed every possible expedient to oppose the Japanese demands and that he could not preserve his position in Shanghai unless he yielded to some extent to force majeure in a matter where, in his judgment, no fundamental principles are involved.

Sent to the Department. Repeated to Chungking. Code text to Tokyo. By air mail.