893.102 H/501

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

No. 1070

Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 1689, dated October 5, 1928, in which you refer to despatch No. 1802, dated September 13, 1928, from the American Consul at Harbin, regarding the Harbin municipal question.97

In reply to your request for an expression of the Department’s views you are informed that the Department concurs in the opinion held by you and Mr. Hanson98 that it is inadvisable to take any steps having as their object participation by American citizens in the meetings of the Assembly of Delegates or the Municipal Council. In this connection you are referred to the Department’s telegram No. 33, of February 3, 1928, 5 p.m., in which a similar position was taken.

The suggestion has been made by Mr. Hanson that it might be possible to make an arrangement whereby the Japanese representative now placed in the Municipal Council would represent the interests of all extraterritorial foreigners, including American citizens. The Department believes that such an arrangement, in so far as citizens of this country are concerned, would be inexpedient. A review of events at Harbin would indicate that foreign residents have hitherto reaped small practical benefit from their attempted insistence on special municipal rights, while the advantage that will accrue to Japanese residents from being represented in the Municipal Government may be regarded as problematical. If the Legation agrees that this is the case, the Department desires that the American Consul at Harbin shall be instructed to abandon all attempts to obtain for American citizens any special right to participate in the Municipal Government, although he should report any offers made by the Chinese authorities in this connection, and to confine his efforts to obtaining for citizens of this country the enjoyment of their treaty rights and all advantages in the carrying on of their activities that may be enjoyed by the citizens of the nation most favored in such respects.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Nelson Trusler Johnson
  1. Neither despatch printed.
  2. The consul at Harbin.