693.002/1141: Telegram

The Consul at Shanghai (Stanton) to the Secretary of State

Reference my November 24, 4 p.m.,66 assumption of charge of Shanghai customs by Akatani. In a letter dated November 18, the Inspector General of Customs stated that he had received a letter from Dr. Kung informing the Inspector General that while adhering to basic principles he should do his utmost to preserve the integrity of the customs administration. According to the Inspector General, [Page 822] Dr. Kung’s letter did not specifically refer to Mr. Lawford’s retirement or the appointment of Mr. Akatani.

The Inspector General also stated that Mr. Lawford had accepted an appointment offered him by the Whangpoo Conservancy Board and that therefore he would not be in a position to accept the renewal of his agreement with customs if such a renewal was offered to him.

Continuing, the Inspector General stated that he had fruitlessly endeavored to resist the demands of the Japanese in regard to the Shanghai customs and that under the circumstances he proposed to permit Mr. Akatani to assume charge.

The Inspector General also stated that he had been informed by the Japanese Consul General that in view of the impending appointment of Akatani the outstanding allowances due to the Inspector General will now be authorized but that no assurance had been given that future payments to the Inspector General will be free from interruption. In conclusion, he said that it is possible that the Japanese may attempt to coerce compliance with subsequent demands by again withholding the Inspectorate General’s allowances.67

Sent to Chungking, repeated to the Department and Peiping. Code text by air mail to Tokyo.

  1. Not printed.
  2. The Department was informed by the British Embassy on January 2, 1942, that, according to a message received in London, Sir Frederick Maze had been replaced on December 11, 1941, as Inspector General of the Maritime Customs by H. Kishimoto, a Japanese national, formerly Chief Secretary of the Maritime Customs (693.002/1144). A number of foreign officials of the Customs, including Sir Frederick, were arrested by Japanese authorities on March 4 (693.002/1148).