693.003/831a: Telegram

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


218. My 189, June 15, 1 p.m.;69 your 487, June 20, 11 p.m.;70 my 202, June 23, 3 p.m.; your 503, June 30, 3 p.m.; my 214, July 7, 2 p.m. It is the opinion here that in the near future understandings should be effected with the Government at Nanking, which apparently is demonstrating a capacity to establish itself in China as the accepted government. The views which you expressed in the third paragraph of your 487 are interpreted as being in harmony with this opinion.

Consistent with the statements in my 189, I believe that, fairly interpreting my statement of January 27, 1927,71 we are obligated, [Page 454] either by ourselves or in concert with the other powers, to proceed to negotiations for the purpose of eliminating the tariff from among the outstanding questions between China and the United States.

I am aware that, because of the apparent unwillingness of the Nationalist authorities to make the requisite overtures referred to in the first paragraph of your 503, you may find it difficult to take any forward steps. I believe, nevertheless, that we should go forward and it is desired that advantage be taken by you of the first opportunity for opening discussions along the lines set forth in my 202 of June 23.

It is my belief that the Nationalist Government might be prompted to come forward if a statement to the following effect were made by me here:72

“With a deep realization of the tremendous nature of the difficulties confronting the Chinese nation, I feel impelled to record my belief that a strong and unified China is in process of emerging from the chaos of civil war and turmoil which has distressed that country for so many years. As an earnest of that belief and of the conviction that the welfare of all the peoples concerned will be promoted by the creation in China of a responsible authority, which will undertake to speak to and for the nation, I am happy to announce that the American Government is ready to begin at once, through the American Minister to China, negotiations with properly accredited representatives whom the Chinese may appoint with reference to certain matters which urgently need to be regulated by new treaty provisions. Concerning the tariff provisions of present treaties between the United States and China, this Government will be glad forthwith to conclude a new treaty, in which it may be expected that the United States will give full recognition to the principle of China’s tariff autonomy and it will be agreed reciprocally that the commerce of each of the countries shall enjoy in the ports and territories of the other treatment in no way discriminatory as compared with the treatment accorded therein to the commerce of any other country.

To that end, the American Minister to China has been authorized to state to the Nationalist authorities that he is prepared to enter upon negotiations.”

A statement of your views is still being awaited. I intend within the next few days, unless you give reasons which show me the inadvisability of following this course, to inform the principal diplomatic missions here of the text or substance of the above and to make the text public within two or three days thereafter. It is requested that you communicate to me at once such comments as you may care to make. You will be informed in advance when action and dates are decided upon.

  1. Ante, p. 181.
  2. Ante, p. 184.
  3. See telegram No. 28, Jan. 25, 1927, to the Chargé in China, Foreign Relations, 1927, vol. ii, p. 350.
  4. Text of statement not paraphrased.