File No. 763.72114/3120

The British Embassy to the Department of State

No. 544


The British Embassy are instructed to inform the Department of State that it appears from reports received by His Majesty’s Government [Page 704] from His Majesty’s Minister at Peking, that the measures which the Chinese Government propose to adopt in regard to the disposal of enemy subjects and their treatment are neither adequate nor satisfactory.

The Chinese Government profess to base their attitude on the procedure adopted by the United States and Japan, but it is, in the opinion of His Majesty’s Government, clear that owing to the existence of extra-territorial rights, the inexperience of Chinese officials and their lack of method, the control over the movements, activities and trade of enemy subjects in China could not be as efficient or complete as in those two countries.

His Majesty’s Government have every reason to fear that if, as appears to be contemplated, enemy subjects are allowed to remain in the German and Austrian concessions or in the Shanghai settlement under some loose form of supervision by the Chinese authorities, there will be no guarantee that China will not continue to be as dangerous a centre of enemy plots, intrigues and propaganda as she was before she entered the war, and the British Embassy venture to remind the State Department that one of the avowed objects of the notes recently exchanged between the Governments of the United States and Japan, was to put a stop to the mischievous reports spread by enemy agents in China.

His Majesty’s Government feel that the only safe means of securing their allies and themselves from these dangers being repeated, is for the representatives of the Allies at Peking to press the Chinese Government to consent to the general deportation of all enemy subjects now in China for internment in Australia.

The British Embassy are instructed, in urging the United States Government to send instructions in this sense to their representative at Peking, to lay special stress on the fact that if enemy subjects are permitted to remain in China, even under surveillance, they will certainly succeed in maintaining their trade relations with the Chinese and will, in all probability, be able to prevent the liquidation and sequestration of their businesses. The Allies will thus not only be deprived of one of the principal advantages, if not indeed the principal advantage, which they hoped to derive from China’s entry into the war, but Germany, on the conclusion of peace, will be enabled speedily to recover her trade and influence in China.