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

No. 908

Sir: The Department has received your Legation’s despatch No. 1451, dated March 28, 1928, stating that you concur in the conclusion reached by the Consul General at Tientsin in his despatch of March 19, 1928,70 copies of which were forwarded to the Department, that it would be highly desirable to obtain early legislation dealing with American participation in the arms, opium and narcotic traffic in China.

The desirability of curtailing the activities of citizens of the United States in connection with the arms and narcotic traffic in China is unquestioned and the Department keenly appreciates the seriousness of the present situation. In considering the initiation of remedial legislation to attain the desired ends, the Department must take cognizance of the probable effect upon Congress of such a step. Under present conditions it seems that the effect would be to precipitate a discussion of the entire Sino-American question and the revision of existing treaties. The Department would prefer that such discussion should be deferred until new treaties with China can be presented to the Senate or until it is demonstrated that conditions in China make it impossible to negotiate an adjustment of American rights in that country. It therefore seems advisable for the present to postpone the proposing of new legislation to cover American participation in the arms and narcotic traffic in China. However, the Department will have this in mind in connection with the question of treaty revision.

An extra copy of this instruction is enclosed for transmission to Mr. Gauss, whose comments and observations the Department has been very glad to receive.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Nelson Trusler Johnson
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