893.512/590: Telegram

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

689. Department’s 61, February 15, 4 p.m., paragraph 3.

1. Following from American consul at Shanghai:

“June 30, 4 p.m. The following communication was received at 2 p.m. today from the Superintendent of Customs by the Commissioner of Customs and telephoned to me by the latter:

‘Taxes on cigarettes, with the exception of customs import and export duties and surtaxes which will continue to be levied as usual, and all kinds of taxes at present leviable on cigarettes, are to be abolished and a single tax at the rate of fifty percent of value will be imposed instead from the 1st of July. A special bureau has been inaugurated by the Ministry of Finance for this purpose. Copy of the regulations governing collection of such taxes forwarded for the Commissioner’s information.’

“In view of the drastic nature of the new tax, has the Legation further instructions supplemental to its circular number 143, of February 26, 1927, which contemplates noninterference by consulates unless adverse discriminatory treatment accorded American interests?”

2. The Legation circular referred to instructed consular officers in the sense of the Department’s telegram above mentioned. I respectfully request the Department’s instructions.