893.841 Surtax/7: Telegram

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

733. Your 282, July 12, 2 p.m. 1. Following from the American consul, Shanghai:

“July 14, 5 p.m. Following for the Senior Minister from the Senior Consul:

At a meeting of the consular body held yesterday it was decided to address a protest to the Commissioner of Foreign Affairs in the following terms:

I have the honor on behalf of my colleagues, the consular representatives of United States of America, Norway, Great Britain, Japan, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, Brazil, Italy, Switzerland, to protest against the order issued by the Surtax Revenue Department imposing a surtax of 50 percent on the tonnage dues, printed the 11th instant.

As such surtax constitutes a flagrant violation of the existing treaties, we are unable to instruct our respective nationals to comply with the demand for its payment and we must reserve to ourselves the right to take such steps as we may deem suitable to protect our shipping from such illegal levy.

It was the opinion of the consular representatives that the proposal for diverting shipping from Shanghai was not feasible but inquiries are being addressed to the different national chambers of commerce with a view to ascertaining how far this view is correct and if so what other proposals for making our protest effective can be suggested.

It was considered for instance that provided naval [apparent omission] could be afforded by agreement at Shanghai and other principal ports affected it might be possible for the tonnage dues to be at treaty [Page 439] rates with, the consulates and for the ships to proceed with a consular clearance instead of a Customs clearance.”

2. “July 14, 4 p.m. With reference to my telegram of July 14, 5 p.m. for the Senior Minister, I would advise that the consular body was distinctly informed at the time the above-mentioned telegram was agreed to that the United States would not use force in carrying out this proposal.”

For the Minister: