The Secretary of State to the Minister in China ( Schurman )

No. 208

Sir: Reference is made to the Legation’s despatch No. 707 dated June 7, 1922, enclosing copies of correspondence from the American Consul at Tsinan regarding the declaration of martial law by the Chinese authorities at Tsinan and certain territory along the Tsinan–Foochow [Tientsin–Pukow?] and Shantung Railways. The Legation requests an expression of the views of the Department on the general subject of the applicability of martial law to persons possessed of extraterritorial privileges in China.

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The Department is of the opinion that a declaration of martial law by the Chinese authorities can not operate so as to deprive American citizens in China of any rights or privileges which they are entitled to enjoy by virtue of stipulations contained in the treaties concluded between China and the United States. American consular officers in China, however, may in an appropriate case render all proper assistance to the Chinese authorities in maintaining peace and order and in preventing or suppressing participation by American citizens in any improper or unlawful acts. The Department, therefore, is in substantial accord with the view expressed by the American Consul at Tsinan in the communication of May 2, 1922, addressed to the Special Commissioner of Foreign Affairs at that city.

In the absence of a particular case arising requiring such action, the Department does not consider it necessary to make any comments concerning the particular provision of the Chinese regulations which accompanied the communication dated April 25, 1922, from the Special Commissioner of Foreign Affairs.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
William Phillips