893.00/7481: Telegram

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

257. My telegram No. 241, June 7, 3 p.m.54

Eugene Chen has insisted upon being addressed as “Minister for Foreign Affairs” as a condition precedent to dealing with international questions including negotiations with the British on the question of the Hongkong boycott. British and French consuls general are doing so although the former has written him officially that the use of this title is a matter of mere politeness and that recognition is not to be implied therefrom. American consul general is following this procedure. Mail report follows.
Canton telegraphs June 22, noon, as follow:

“Chen has now begun to sign section 6 certificates,55 instead of Commissioner of Customs, who appears to have been designated by the last-recognized Peking Government. Shall I decline to accept certificates signed by Chen? I shall greatly appreciate definite instructions in above matters, but, at the same time, I would suggest the advisability of showing the Canton Government as much consideration as possible since we must deal with it as the de facto authority.”

Although not disposed to assume a needlessly antagonistic attitude towards the Canton regime, I do not consider that we would gain its favor or its respect by taking liberties with our legal requirements in deference to Cantonese pretentions to a governmental status.
  1. Post, p. 721.
  2. Certificates of identification of Chinese coming to the United States required by section 6 of the Chinese Exclusion Act of July 5, 1884 (23 Stat. 115).