The Minister in China ( MacMurray ) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 14—2:27 a.m.]
217. The following telegram from American consul general at Hankow:
“March 12, 4 p.m. My March 8, 3 p.m. Nationalist Government has now served written notice that effective today stamp tax, substantially the same as those referred to in my despatch 131, December 15, 1926,38 and your despatch of January 5th, 1927,39 will be collected and that failure to pay will subject all individuals and firms, both Chinese and foreign, to fines not exceeding two hundred dollars. American business interests are much upset and I should appreciate definite instructions at once as to whether taxes should be paid by Americans. Consular body has held no meeting as it seems unlikely that any unanimity of action can be obtained.
I shall inform Americans that I am not at this time in a position to advise payment of such taxes and that the matter must be left to their discretion pending definite instructions from Legation at Peking.”
To the above, the Legation replied:
“March 14, 5 p.m. Your March 12, 4 p.m. Stamp tax about to be enforced by the Nationalist regime apparently applies equally to all foreigners as well as to Chinese. In line with the Department’s instruction referred to in the Legation’s circular instruction number 143, February 26th,38 you are authorized informally to advise interested Americans at Hankow that the Legation does not feel warranted in protesting against collection of such stamp tax from American citizens in the absence of any discriminatory features and that they must determine their attitude as to compliance in the light of that and of the further fact that it appears impossible for Americans to avoid payment of tax and continue to do business. 2. The Legation is of course anxious to avoid question arising of fines for nonpayment of the tax. The Legation does not desire you to agree in any official way to the demands of the Nationalist regime arid suggests that the matter be discussed with interested nationals only.”