The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Great Britain (Davis)32

No. 824

Sir: It will be recalled that in 1918, the Russian and Japanese Governments sought and received the assent of the Powers concerned to the institution of an exceptional system, for the duration of the war, for the control of the passports of persons traveling on the Chinese Eastern and South Manchuria Railways. Believing that the objects of such passport control, by the Russian and Japanese authorities, respectively, have now been happily fulfilled, this Government is instructing its representative in Peking to consult with his colleagues as to the opportuneness of the present time for dispensing with such war-time restrictions, and reverting to the normal status in which foreign nationals in China are subject in respect to passport requirements only to the provisions of the treaties between their own Government and that of China.

You are therefore instructed to request an expression of the views of the British Government on this matter and an indication whether it is disposed to instruct its representative at Peking in the sense that the present restrictions are no longer necessary.

For your information in this connection there are enclosed copies of the exchange of correspondence between the American Minister at Peking and his Russian and Japanese colleagues,33 respectively, covering the arrangements for passport inspection on the Chinese Eastern and Southern Manchuria Railways.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Van S. Merle-Smith
  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, on the same date, to the Ambassador in France as no. 535 (file no. 894c.111/12), to which apparently no reply was received from the French Government.
  2. Correspondence with the Russian Minister not printed; with the Japanese Minister, printed pp. 3436.