Mr. Portman to Mr. Seward

No. 44.]

Sir: I have the honor to transmit, No. 1, copy of a letter addressed by me to the Japanese government on the subject of an embassy which recently left for Europe.

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Up to this date no reply has been received by me to that letter, and I have no doubt that the delay in giving me the information desired is owing to some secret agreement entered into some months ago with the representative of a treaty power in this country.

Although no engagement, either secret or otherwise, made on behalf of the Japanese government by this embassy with any European power, could in the slightest degree be binding on the United States, yet it might ultimately prove of an embarrassing influence.

I feel confident that at an early day I shall succeed in procuring a satisfactory reply to my letter from the Japanese government.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

A.L C. PORTMAN, Chargé d’ Affaires ad interim in Japan.

Hon. William H. Seward, &c, &c., &c.

No. 1.

I have to request your excellency to communicate to me the rank and names of the officers composing your embassy, which left by last mail steamer for Europe, and to inform me of the object of their mission.

Your embassy which left for Europe in 186*2 concluded a secret convention with the governments of Great Britain and France, which was shown me by Colonel Neale, then her Britannic Majesty’s chargé d’ affaires, and the embassy which left subsequently concluded a convention in Paris, which latter convention was disapproved by his Majesty the Tycoon. In neither of these cases was any notice whatever given to the minister of the United States. In the most friendly manner I now beg to submit that it is difficult to reconcile the conclusion of such conventions with a fair interpretation of the most-favored-nation clause, as contained in article 9 of the treaty concluded with Commodore Perry at Kanagawa on the 31st of March, 1854.

The President is animated with a most cordial friendship towards his Majesty the Tycoon and his government, which friendship, I am sure, is as cordially reciprocated, and I have therefore no doubt that your excellency will furnish me at an early day with the information desired,

With respect and esteem,

A. L. C. PORTMAN, Chargé d’ Affaires of the United States in Japan.

His Excellency Midluno Idsumi No Kami, Minister for Foreign Affairs, &c, &c, &c.