893.053 Sh/23: Telegram

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


56. Legation’s telegram 75 of March 11, 10 a.m. The actual conditions in China seem to give confirmation to the position which was taken generally by the diplomatic corps as indicated by the comments on circular 69 forwarded with Legation’s despatch 1572 of May 30, 1923,45 that the Government at Peking does not have sufficient control in the vicinity of Shanghai to make it possible for it to offer satisfactory guarantees that it will fulfill any agreements which might result from negotiations for the rendition of the Mixed Court and possibly other matters affecting port of Shanghai. This opinion appears to be given support especially by the passage of an act for a cigarette tax by the Provincial Assembly of Kiangsu and its imposition, imminent if not actual, in spite of your protests.46 Moreover, the widespread disregard which provincial authorities show for treaty rights and the lack of any evidence of a real desire on their part to correct this situation causes the Department to question the advisability of taking action which many elements among the Chinese might interpret as resulting from weakness or as indicating, or being preliminary to, a surrender of extraterritorial rights in the near future. As the reasons given by your colleagues last year for not entering into negotiations seem more cogent now than then, the Department is at a loss to understand their present willingness to do so.

Furthermore, the Department is not ready to admit that the date for the meeting of the Commission on Extraterritoriality is so indefinite as to bar the hope that that body may make a survey of the status of the Mixed Court.

The Department would like to receive your comments regarding the views presented above before it authorizes you to concur in the [Page 526] proposed note of the dean of the diplomatic corps. More complete information is desired with respect to the considerations which seem to make it advisable to concur in the proposed note.

  1. Not printed.
  2. For protests against internal taxes, see Foreign Relations, 1923, vol. i, p. 579.