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

No. 890

Sir: The Department has received despatch No. 98 of April 23, 1928, from the American Consul at Foochow,17 requesting a reconsideration of certain phases of the Department’s instruction to the Legation No. 684 of November 16, 1927,18 which directed that, under [Page 270] the conditions then obtaining in China, travel certificates for use in the interior should be issued for certain purposes only and that they should not be given to individuals likely to remain indefinitely in regions from which Americans generally had been advised to withdraw. Copies of the despatch from Foochow in reference were sent by the Consul to the Legation.

The Department’s instruction of November 16, 1927, in so far as it related to a permanent policy, was designed to correct the inconsistency in procedure involved in the issuing of travel certificates to American citizens for extended use in regions from which American citizens had been advised to withdraw. The Department suggests that the Legation take into consideration the situation in the Foochow consular district, as described by Mr. Sokobin in his despatch of April 23 and in later reports, and inform the Consulate at Foochow whether, in the Legation’s opinion, it is now safe for American citizens to reside and travel in that district. Mr. Sokobin should be informed, also, that when the Department’s instruction of November 16, 1927, was written conditions throughout the interior of China seemed to render residence and travel there by American citizens unsafe, but that the Department recognizes the fact that there are times when some regions in the interior may be safe for American citizens, even though others may not be, and that the advice given to American citizens should necessarily be based upon the circumstances in each case.

The Legation is requested to supply the Department with a copy of its instruction to the American Consul at Foochow.19

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Nelson Trusler Johnson
  1. Not printed.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. ii, p. 312.
  3. Not printed; a copy of the instruction, dated Aug. 30, 1928, was received in the Department Oct. 1, 1928 (393.11/821).