893.841 Surtax/1: Telegram

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

705. Legation’s 698, July 6, 5 p.m.87

1. Following from American consul at Shanghai:

“July 7, 9 p.m. The director in charge of Surtax Revenue Department today officially announced that he has ‘received an order from Ministry of Finance of the National Government, Nanking, to collect a surtax on tonnage amounting to one-half of the existing Customs tonnage dues’ and that he proposes to collect such surtax on and after [Page 435] July 11, 1927. Present tonnage dues, fixed by treaty, are 4 mace per ton. I protested against this surtax on the ground that it is imposed without adequate notice and that it has not been sanctioned by the diplomatic body. I believe further that we should inform the Customs that American ships will make the payment of tonnage dues at the existing treaty rate and that if payment at such rate is not accepted they will proceed without Customs clearance. The Legation’s instructions are requested.”

2. I am replying as follows:

“July 8, 3 p.m. Your July 7, 9 p.m.

The question of filing a protest in this instance as well as in the cases of the proposed surtaxes on imports and excise on tobacco is one of general policy primarily for consideration and determination by the Department. You should therefore not protest in such case without obtaining the Legation’s instructions to that effect (see Legation’s 75, July 3, noon88).
For your information it may be stated that the Legation is giving careful consideration to the most effective way in which the general protest can be made against the repudiation by the Nationalist authorities of the whole system of treaty rights as regards committees [customs?] matters.”

  1. Ante, p. 392.
  2. Not printed.