893.05/68: Telegram

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

308. My telegram No. 297, July 23, 4 p.m.

There are plausible rumors that fearing the effect upon the Mixed Court in their own concession at Shanghai the French will obstruct agreement for the rendition of Court in the International Settlement. In the emergency have I your approval for taking the position that the French have no locus standi in this matter inasmuch as by retaining their own concession and standing aloof from the International Settlement they wholly disinterested themselves in the latter and disentitled themselves to any voice in its affairs?
It is also rumored that Italy and Norwegians will obstruct rendition. If so I hope I have your approval for very bluntly announcing that we have no intention of accepting any share of opprobrium for such action and will make a frank public statement of our attitude on the question.
As a result of public utterances of certain American lawyers who seem to have been duped by less reputable colleagues of other nationalities into taking the initiative in opposing rendition on the ground that it would deprive foregoing lawyers of a share of their vested interest in practice before the Mixed Court, there has been worked up by Chinese lawyers and others somewhat uncomfortable antagonism towards Americans not yet serious but potentially dangerous to our interests.
It is entirely possible that the Peking authorities will refuse ratification to the agreement between the consular body and Sun Ch’uan-fang30 even though interested Ministers approve. In that case it seems clear to me that we must take the position that the modus vivendi so satisfactorily regulating this local question which has been at issue for 15 years cannot be upset by the intransigence of an unrecognized Central Government which, having lost all semblance of power or authority, has ceased to feel any responsibility for consequences of such decisions as it may presume to make. I trust you approve.
  1. Commander in chief of the allied armies of Chekiang, Fukien, Kiangsu, Kiangsi, and Anhui, and concurrently director general of Shanghai and Woosung Port Administration.