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

My Dear Senator: Adverting to my letter of March 14, 1921,68 and to your reply of March 15,69 relative to the declaration of May, 1919, by which certain powers represented at Peking mutually agreed [Page 560] to restrict shipments from their respective countries to China of arms and munitions of war until the present civil strife in that country has ceased and normal conditions are restored, and in which letter you stated that on the reconvening of Congress in extra session you would lay my letter of March 14, 1921, before the Committee on Foreign Relations and ask for action upon it, I have the honor to state that, in the absence of any legal authority to control the exportation of arms and munitions to China, the Department is finding it difficult to meet its commitment under the joint declaration above mentioned. Since the repeal of the Espionage Act of June 15, 1917, under certain provisions of which shipments of munitions to China were controlled, the Department has been without recourse in enforcing its part of the joint declaration. In justice to arms manufacturers, to the other nations which are parties to the agreement and to the Chinese Government, the Department would be much relieved if it could be assured whether or not there is a likelihood of the Foreign Relations Committee giving favorable consideration to the proposal that Public Resolution No. 22 of March 14, 1912, (37 Stat., page 630) be amended by striking out the word “American” in the first line, or by such other means as the Committee may deem advisable to enable this Government to continue its cooperation in this matter with the Governments mentioned in my letter of March 14, 1921.

If it should be the decision of the Committee on Foreign Relations not to give favorable consideration to the proposed legislation, it would of course be necessary for the Department, on being so informed, to take appropriate steps to relieve this Government of its commitment under the above mentioned declaration.

I am [etc.]

Charles E. Hughes
  1. Ante, p. 551.
  2. Not printed.