House Concurrent Resolution 45, 69th Congress, 2d Session74

Whereas in the nine power treaty, drafted at the Washington Conference of 1921–22,75 the United States has engaged itself “to respect the sovereignty, the independence, and the territorial and administrative integrity of China,” and “to provide the fullest and most unembarrassed opportunity to China to develop and maintain for herself an effective and stable Government”; and

Whereas by virtue of this treaty, and in accordance with the traditional policy as embodied in various other formal declarations, it is appropriate that the United States should lend its aid and encouragement, in all proper ways, to nations or peoples in their efforts to establish and maintain popular forms of political rule; and

Whereas, therefore, the Chinese people are entitled to such aid and encouragement as the United States may properly give them in their efforts to place upon a firm and efficient basis the republican form of government which they adopted in 1912; and

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Whereas this task of obtaining a republican form of government which will command the respect, the allegiance, and the obedience of the people of China, and thus secure the establishment of an effective, unified, civil control over all the Provinces of China, is rendered extraordinarily difficult by reason of the restraints upon the exercise of her sovereign powers provided for by treaties, to some of which the United States is a party; and

Whereas at the present time the United States of America has treaties with the Republic of China which the Chinese people assert deny to the Government of that country the right to fix its tariff policies in accordance with its revenue necessities or the needs of its economic and industrial life, and prevent it from exercising through its courts and laws that control over persons and property within its territories which is enjoyed by all other sovereign states within their several borders, and thus deprive it of that equality with other members of the family of nations to which it is justly entitled; and

Whereas there has arisen in China a nation-wide public opinion which insists that China has been and is treated in an unequal and nonreciprocal manner by foreign powers; and

Whereas it is highly unjust that a great and civilized people should be hindered by restraints imposed upon them in order to promote the interests of these powers; and

Whereas international good will and the preservation of international peace can be rendered secure only when nations deal justly with one another and upon a basis of equality of respect and mutuality of interest; and

Whereas in order to maintain peace and concord among the nations of the Pacific and among those having substantial interests therein, and to prevent the four hundred millions of the Chinese from abandoning their traditional doctrines of reason and justice for those of militarism, it is necessary that existing misunderstanding and grounds for grievance upon the part of the Chinese people should be removed; and

Whereas the United States has for many years taken the initiative in movements to secure just treatment for China, as was shown especially in establishing upon a firm and definite basis the principle of the open door in China; in remitting to China in 1908 the portion of the Boxer indemnities in excess of actual damages, and, in 1924, remitting the balance of the actual damages remaining due; and in the calling of the Washington Conference of 1921–22, which had as one of its primary purposes the lessening of the foreign restraints upon China’s freedom of action, and the correction of violations of China’s sovereign and territorial rights by various of the powers; and

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Whereas general experience has demonstrated the impossibility of obtaining adequate concerted action upon the part of powers whose interests are not identical and whose policies diverge; and

Whereas with reference to the dealings of the foreign powers with China the attempt to maintain such concerted action has resulted in a situation which has become progressively worse, so that there is now indication that China, impatient at further delay, will exercise her sovereign right to denounce, by unilateral action, the treaties which, in her opinion, so grievousely oppress her; and

Whereas it is in conformity with the traditional policy and practice of the United States of America to take action independent of that of other powers when it deems it just and expedient so to do, and the present situation in the Far East is one which renders it especially expedient that the United States of America should now free itself from entangling relations with other powers whose interests and policies are not identical with those of the United States, especially such as are concerned with the traffic in opium, the occupation of important and strategic ports of China, and exercise of political jurisdiction in connection with railway concessions, and, in general, the sanction of measures which infringe or tend to infringe upon China’s sovereignty and administrative integrity; and

Whereas it is felt by many that the situation which now exists in and with regard to China is one which, if not promptly dealt with upon a basis of justice and equity, will endanger the peace of the world: Therefore be it

Resolved by the Home of Representatives (the Senate concurring) That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, respectfully requested forthwith to enter into negotiations with the duly accredited agents of the Government of China, authorized to speak for the entire people of China, with a view to the negotiation and the drafting of a treaty or of treaties between the United States of America and the Republic of China which shall take the place of the treaties now in force between the two countries, which provide for the exercise in China of American extraterritorial or jurisdictional rights or limit her full autonomy with reference to the levying of customs dues or other taxes, or of such other treaty provisions as may be found to be unequal or nonreciprocal in character, to the end that henceforth the treaty relations between the two countries shall be upon a wholly equal and reciprocal basis and will be such as will in no way offend the sovereign dignity of either of the parties or place obstacles in the way of realization by either of them of their several national aspirations or the maintenance by them of their several legitimate domestic policies.

  1. This resolution introduced by the Honorable Stephen G. Porter on January 4, 1927, was not acted upon. On January 24, 1927, Mr. Porter introduced H. Con. Res. 46, which in an amended form was passed by the House of Representatives on February 21. The resolution as passed contained the following preamble in place of the preamble of H. Con. Res. 45:

    “Whereas the United States in its relations with China has always endeavored to act in a spirit of mutual fairness and equity and with due regard for the conditions prevailing from time to time in the two countries, and since the development of conditions in China makes it desirable that the United States at the present time, in accordance with its traditional policy, should take the initiative in bringing about a readjustment of its treaty relations with China:”

    Except for slight changes, the body of H. Con. Res. 46 as passed by the House of Representatives was the same as that of H. Con. Res. 45 introduced by Mr. Porter on January 4. H. Con. Res. 46 was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Feb. 22, but no further action appears to have been taken upon it. See Congressional Record, 69th Cong., 2d sess., vol. 68, pt. 2, p. 2195; pt. 4, pp. 4386–4390, 4419.

  2. Foreign Relations, 1922, vol. i, p. 276.