893.102S/2439: Telegram

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

Chungking’s No. 356, March 28, 3 p.m. [Chungking’s March 28, 4 p.m.] to Shanghai.91 The Department having interposed no objection to reallocation of Council seats on basis of 4 Chinese, 3 British, 3 American, 3 Japanese, 1 German and 2 of other nationalities, 16 in all, British and Japanese Consuls General and I met yesterday afternoon and agreed on the above ratio on the understanding that the Chungking Government would be requested to give its concurrence to the reduction of Chinese membership from 5 to 4 in a cooperative endeavor to solve a critical situation that has arisen in International Settlement affairs here. Inasmuch as the Minister for Foreign Affairs informed us that the Chinese Government desired to align itself with the American Government in this matter it is hoped Dr. Wang will now promptly give the Chinese Government’s acquiescence so that the reorganization of the Council can take place without delay. It has been agreed that the Chairman of the Council shall be either British or American and that the two last named members under the revised allocation shall be acceptable to the British and American Consuls General. The object in fixing a new ratio of national representation is to have balanced Council and to more evenly spread the responsibility [representation] among the nationalities resident in the Settlement and to provide means of bringing about certain much needed administrative and taxation reforms. Accordingly, it is proposed to increase the membership to 16 and to reduce Chinese membership by 1 and British by 2, allowing 1 additional seat for an American and 1 for a Japanese. As the time is short for putting the new plan into force it is hoped the Embassy may be able to obtain the acquiescence of the Chinese Government by April 4th. I trust that it will be possible for the Embassy to bring this matter to the attention of Dr. Wang immediately so that no time will be lost.

Sent to Chungking. Repeated to Department and Peiping. Code text by air mail to Tokyo.

  1. Not printed; it requested comment on the Department’s telegram No. 67, March 26, 6 p.m., to the Ambassador in China, p. 839.