The Consul General at Shanghai ( Lockhart ) to the Secretary of State
[Received April 1—11:25 a.m.]
369. Department’s 205, March 29, 7 p.m., and Chungking’s 108, March 22, 10 a.m. Please see my April 1, 11 a.m. [1 p.m.], to Chungking for result of conference with my British and Japanese colleagues yesterday. It was felt advisable to leave to the British and American Consuls General the matter of the acceptability of the two members heretofore described as “neutrals” for the want of a better word and to distinguish them from Italians, Norwegians, et cetera, instead of leaving their selection to the Consular Body, in which group unanimity of [opinion is difficult,] and sometimes impossible, to obtain under present circumstances. This understanding is to be furthered by exchange of letters, as will be the understanding regarding the allocation of seats and the designation of a Briton or American as chairman. Question of the chairman casting a deciding vote is still under discussion, with prospect of a satisfactory solution. It has been decided to postpone to an undetermined date the election fixed for April 9 and 10 and after the receipt of Chinese Government’s acquiescence it is hoped to proceed with the reorganization. While I have again reminded my British colleague of the embarrassment caused by the delay in letting the American members of the Council and me know of the earlier stages of these negotiations, I had already with regret expressed my views in this regard some time ago both to my British and Japanese colleagues, but in fairness to them it should be recalled that the initiative was taken by Powell, British councilman, in talks with Okamoto, Japanese councilman. Some negotiations had apparently taken place before the British and Japanese Consuls General were informed.
Sent to the Department. Repeated to Chungking and Peiping. Code text by air mail to Tokyo.