793.003 C 73/163a: Circular telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Japan (Neville)90

You will communicate the following to the Foreign Office of the Japanese Government.

“Resolution V adopted by the Washington Conference on December 10, 1921, provided ‘That the Governments of the Powers above named shall establish a Commission (to which each of such Governments shall appoint one member) to inquire into the present practice of extraterritorial jurisdiction in China, and into the laws and the judicial system and the methods of judicial administration of China, with a view to reporting to the Governments of the several Powers above named their findings of fact in regard to these matters, and their recommendations as to such means as they may find suitable to improve the existing conditions of the administration of justice in China, and to assist and further the efforts of the Chinese Government to effect such legislation and judicial reforms as would warrant the several Powers in relinquishing, either progressively or otherwise, their respective rights of extraterritoriality.’

On September 4, 1925, the Governments of the nine Powers that participated in the Washington Conference addressed identic notes to the Chinese Government91 in reply to its identic note to the same Powers of June 24, 1925,92 with reference to the question of treaty revision. Referring to the question of the relinquishment by the Powers of their extraterritorial rights the Powers stated, ‘My Government is now ready to appoint its Commissioner to sit with the Commissioners of the other interested Governments in accordance with that Resolution. It hopes that that Commission may be able to begin at an early date its investigation of the existing conditions of the administration of justice in China and to make a report which will serve as a basis for recommendations to be made, in pursuance of the resolution, for the purpose of enabling the Governments concerned to consider what if any steps may be taken with a view to the relinquishment of the extraterritorial rights.’

The Government of the United States desires most earnestly to have before it in the near future for consideration, the report of that Commission and to that end has named as its Commissioner an eminent American lawyer, Mr. Silas H. Strawn of Chicago. In order that the Commission may begin its work with as little delay as possible, the Government of the United States suggests that December 18, 1925, be accepted by the interested Powers as the date upon which it will commence its functions at Peking. As regards the manner in which the Commission will perform its work, the Government of the United States believes that this should be left to the [Page 888]Commission which should be guided [as?] to its duties and the intentions of the Governments by the letter and spirit of Resolution V and the Powers’ note to China of September 4th.”

You will express the hope of this Government that the Government of Japan will find itself able to accept the date mentioned and that it will inform you so that this information can be communicated to the Chinese Government.

  1. The same, mutatis mutandis, to the Ambassador in Peru, and also to the Ambassador in France with instructions to repeat to the diplomatic representatives in Belgium, Denmark, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.
  2. Ante, p. 831. The identic notes were sent to China by the eight powers who in addition to China participated in the Washington Conference.
  3. See telegram No. 247, June 24, from the Chargé in China, p. 763.