The Secretary of State to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (Lodge)

Sir: In view of the long continued civil strife in China, the Powers allied and associated in the War, and also certain of the neutral Powers, mutually agreed, through their diplomatic representatives in Peking, in May, 1919, to restrict shipments from their respective countries to China of arms and munitions of war, and material destined exclusively for their manufacture, until the establishment of a government whose authority should be recognized throughout the whole country. The Powers thus cooperating were [Page 552] the United States, Great Britain, France, Japan, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Brazil, The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Italy. The purport of this understanding was to put into effect internationally, as regards China, a policy identical with that which the United States has adopted in the past in connection with civil disturbances in countries in Latin America, as set forth in Public Resolution No. 22, of March 14, 1912 (37 Stat, page 630). This Government was enabled to exercise the control over the export of arms and munitions to China, in pursuance of the policy thus adopted, on the basis of the provisions of the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917,59 as enforced by the War Trade Board.

By the joint resolution approved March 3, 1921,60 those provisions of the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917, providing for the control of exports, were repealed. The Department of State was thus deprived of any legal authority by which it could control shipment of arms and thereby cooperate with the other interested Powers in restricting shipments of arms used to promote and continue civil strife in China. It is believed that conditions in China do not at the present time warrant any change in this policy, and I therefore have the honor to renew the request contained in a letter addressed to you by Secretary Lansing under date of December 31, 1919,61—namely, that Public Resolution No. 22, of March 14, 1912 (37 Stat., page 630) be amended by striking out the limiting word “American” in the first line, or by such other means as you in your discretion may consider adequate, to enable this Government to continue its cooperation with the other Powers in a policy which it believes necessary under existing circumstances.

I have [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. 40 Stat. 217.
  2. 41 Stat. 1359.
  3. Not printed.