The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the American Minister in China (MacMurray)95



Regarding the question of Germany’s adherence to the Nine-Power Treaty Relating to Principles and Policies Concerning China, concluded on February 6, 1922, the Chinese Government believes that there are two reasons for Germany’s not adhering to the said Treaty:

  • First. The provisions of the said Treaty are all intended to rectify the old treaties. The existence of the provisions of Article I and Article II is due to the fact that the old treaties violate China’s sovereignty and restrict China’s territorial and administrative integrity. The existence of the provisions of Article III and Article IV, providing for the Open Door and for equality of opportunity, is due to the fact that the old treaties delimit spheres of influence and special interests. It is clearly evident that in spirit and meaning the said Treaty has direct reference to the old treaties, and fundamentally has no concern whatever with such nations as have concluded equal and reciprocal treaties with China.
  • Second. According to the explanations set forth in Article VIII of the Nine-Power Treaty, there are two conditions for adherence to the Treaty by my country: (a) Recognition already accorded to such country by each country party to the Treaty, and (b) Existence of Treaty relations at that time between such country and China.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would observe that “treaty relations” as mentioned in the said Treaty naturally refers to the various subjects mentioned in the Treaty itself. Evidence of this is found in the conditions for adherence imposed by Article VIII of the Customs Treaty. Aside from the requirement of having been recognized by the various Signatory Powers, there is the requirement of having a direct “Five per centum ad valorem” treaty.

The Nine-Power Treaty and the Customs Treaty were formulated at the same time. The spirit and meaning of the conditions for adherence to each are naturally similar. Reasoning by analogy, since whatever nation adheres to the Customs Treaty must have a treaty providing for a five per centum ad valorem Customs duty, then, naturally, such nations as adhere to the Nine-Power Treaty must have treaties containing stipulations regarding the subjects referred to in the said Treaty before they can adhere. There can be no grounds for doubt as to this.

Similarly, there is the International Postal Agreement. Those countries which have no postal system naturally can not adhere to it.

For the above reasons, in the view of the Chinese Government, Germany certainly is not, in accordance with the spirit and provisions of the Washington Treaties, among those nations that may adhere thereto.

Aside from making separate representations to the German Government and telegraphing the Chinese Minister to the United States to request the United States Government to inform the German Govermnent of the Chinese Government’s views on this matter, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the honor to prepare this memorandum, with the request that the American Minister will communicate its contents to his Government for its information, to the end that the latter may bring them to the attention of the German Government and may withdraw the invitation that has been issued.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in China as an enclosure to his despatch No. 425, Jan. 22: received about Feb. 25.