Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Johnson)
The Chinese Minister called, by appointment, upon the Secretary at twelve o’clock on February 9, and read to him a telegram, copy of which is attached to this memorandum, which he had received from the Chinese Foreign Office to the effect that the Chinese Government will not insist upon withdrawal by the United States of invitations sent to non-signatory powers to adhere to the Nine-Power Treaty relating to principles and policies concerning China. The Secretary informed the Minister that this position seemed satisfactory. He told the Minister that it only remained now for the Chinese Government to withdraw the note which the Chinese Minister had addressed to the Department on this subject and which remained unanswered and the one which the Chinese Foreign Office had addressed to the American Minister in Peking. The Minister stated that he had anticipated this situation and had already drawn up a proposal which he purposed communicating to his own Government, namely, that he should be authorized to withdraw the note which he had addressed to the Department of State and also that the understanding would be that the American Minister at Peking would return to the Chinese Foreign Office the note which had been addressed to the American Minister by the Foreign Office. The Chinese Minister stated that he had taken the liberty of drafting a telegram to his Government indicating that the Government of the United States expected this arrangement and restating the views which he knew the Secretary to hold on this subject, namely, that adherence by non-signatory Powers to the Treaty in question could not be interpreted as in any way meaning an infringement upon China’s sovereignty or administrative integrity. He showed the text of his proposed telegram to the Secretary and the Secretary informed the Minister that he saw no objection to this statement of his views. The Chinese Minister asked the Secretary whether he would give to him a memorandum along these lines and the Secretary replied that he had no objection to doing that. He instructed Mr. Johnson to revise the note which had already been drafted as it contained these statements.