500.A 4 e/370: Telegram

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


423. 1. The Chinese Secretary has learned by discreet inquiry that the Soviet Chargé very recently asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether the Soviet Government would not be invited to take part in the Tariff Conference. The Chargé was informed that this would not be possible, as the Soviet Union was not a party to the customs treaty and was not entitled to adhere to that treaty, as it did not have a treaty with China providing for a 5 percent tariff, which under article 8 was the eligibility requirement for adherence to that treaty. The Soviet Chargé proposed that he should address a formal note to the Minister for Foreign Affairs but the Minister asked him not to do so. There have been no further developments in this matter.

2. I have learned that the German Minister has been very persistent in urging both the Chief Executive and the Minister for Foreign [Page 852]Affairs that Germany be invited to the conference. The request has been refused as Germany has no treaty right to a 5 percent tariff.

3. The German Minister has presented the matter to me somewhat differently. In a conversation he urged that although Germany may not be entitled to participate in the conference, it should be enabled to give its adherence to the Washington Conference treaties and resolutions concerning China so that Germany could cooperate in the policies set forth therein. I should think that this would be desirable so far as concerns Chinese questions if it could be arranged without involving participation by Germany in the conference and without causing embarrassment by the obvious necessity of refusing to offer an opportunity for the Soviet Government to adhere under somewhat similar circumstances.