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

No. 1678

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department’s instruction No. 410, of May 31, 1923,6 regarding the levying of a tax of 20% upon cigars and cigarettes, and transmitting a copy of a letter of May 8, 1923, from the Tobacco Merchants Association of the United States protesting against this tax. In this connection I have the honor to refer to my despatch No. 1563 of May 23, 1923,6 with regard to the imposition of this tax in Chekiang and Fukien Provinces in which I reported that on May 16, 1923, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had notified me that this tax had been discontinued [Page 591] in Fukien Province beginning from April 10, 1923. Upon receipt of this note I requested reports from the Consuls at Foochow and Amoy as to whether or not the tax had actually been discontinued. The Consul at Foochow replied that he had been informed by the Civil Governor that the tax was suspended from April 10, 1923, as stated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and further that the Foochow selling agents of the firm of Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company had informed him that tax was never actually collected. The American Vice Consul in Chargé at Amoy, however, reported that the tax had not been discontinued. It appears that this tax is collected by the Southern Fukien Wine and Tobacco Revenue Tax Office, which is under the control of General Tsang Chih-p’ing and is not collected by the Fukien Wine and Tobacco Tax Administration. In view of the fact that this tax is apparently still being collected in Amoy I have addressed a further note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a copy of which is transmitted herewith,7 requesting that instructions be issued to the authorities of Southern Fukien to discontinue the levying of this tax on goods of American merchants sold at the treaty ports or conveyed into the interior under transit passes and on the goods of those American Tobacco companies having agreements with the Wine and Tobacco Administration.

I have [etc.]

Jacob Gould Schurman
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