File No. 8602/6–10.

The Secretary of State to Chargé Fletcher.

No. 410.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 801, of December 26 last, and to inform you in reply that the department approves the attitude maintained by the legation in respect to the imposition of taxes on American kerosene oil at Nanking and Shun Te Fu in addition to those prescribed by treaty.

In view of the fact, as stated in your dispatch, that the principal question involved in the Nanking case is whether the duty-free area of an open port includes the whole area of the port or simply that section of the city comprising the international settlement; the department believes that you could avail of this opportunity again to impress upon the Chinese the settled conviction of this Government that a port which, under the treaties, has been declared open to international residents and foreign trade, is opened in its entirety.

As bearing on the subject under consideration there is inclosed herewith for your information a copy of the department’s instruction to the consul general at Shanghai as to the attitude which he is to assume in connection with the attempt of the Chinese authorities to levy likin duties within the harbor limits of Shanghai.

I am, etc.,

E. Root.

The Secretary of State to Consul General Denby.

No. 45.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 51 of November 1, 1907,1 and to express the department’s approval of the joint communication to the taotai by the consular corps on the subject of likin within the harbor limits.

[Page 139]

This department is of the opinion that no opportunity should be overlooked in which to impress upon the Chinese Government the interpretation which the United States attaches to the words “open port.”

The tendency of the Chinese authorities to restrict the actual growth of Shanghai by limiting the accommodation of foreign shipping to within that portion of the harbor which comprises the settlement area, as well as by other measures reported to this department in the past, should, whenever the occasion requires, be strongly resisted.

The levying of likin dues within the harbor limits constitutes a clear case for protest, since it is entirely proper that the whole harbor should be included in the confines of the open port.

The department awaits with interest the result of your request for the issuance of a proclamation prohibiting within the harbor the levy of taxes of every nature on foreign goods excepting those provided for by treaty.

I am, etc.,

W. J. Care, Chief Clerk

(For the Secretary of State).
  1. Not printed.