File No. 893.512/62.

Minister Reinsch to the Secretary of State.

No. 807.

Sir: Referring to the instruction No. 325 of September 17 last, in which the Department confirmed the correctness of the Legation’s [Page 231] understanding of the effect of the stamp taxes as stated in its despatch No. 683 of July 9 last, I have the honor to request direct instructions as to the Department’s views upon the question suggested in that despatch: whether or not the payment of stamp tax is to be considered a condition precedent to the enforceability in a Chinese court of any contract entered into between a Chinese and an American citizen or firm; and whether or not, in consequence, it should be maintained that a plea of non-payment of the tax would be effective as a defense to an action in a Chinese court by an American plaintiff seeking a remedy under such an unstamped contract. I beg to refer in this connection to my despatch No. 149 of March 10, 1914.66

As the Legation has been asked to pass on this point, I have the honor to request telegraphic instructions.

I have [etc.]

Paul S. Reinsch.