393.1163 Property/25

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

No. 1740

Sir: Adverting to the Legation’s radio message No. 591, of August 2, 10 a.m., concerning the regulations governing the lease of land and buildings in the interior by foreign missionary societies, I have the honor to enclose copy, in translation, of a despatch from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Nationalist Government.

It will be noted that, in this despatch, Dr. Wang confines himself to rather vague assurances that the regulations will not adversely affect American missionary interests, and that, consequently, the Legation need have no apprehensions.

I have [etc.]

J. V. A. MacMurray
[Page 579]

The Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs (Wang) to the American Minister (MacMurray)

Excellency: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s note of August 9, 1928,63 stating as follows:

“I have the honor to refer to the ‘Provisional Regulations Governing the Lease of Land and Buildings in the Interior by Foreign Missionary Societies’ which were transmitted to Vice Consul in Charge Paxton by the Nanking Commissioner of Foreign Affairs and to inform Your Excellency that … the American Government is unable to recognize the regulations in question insofar as they either contravene rights conferred by the treaties or imply a right to confiscate legitimate American interests.”

I have the honor to state that the Nationalist Government regulations of July of this year were promulgated with a view to effecting a uniform procedure, and in order to facilitate inspection and protection. They in no way contravene the provisions of any valid treaty. This matter concerns the regulations governing real property in the interior and is purely a question of internal administration.

The relations between the United States and China have always been very cordial, and in addition, the attitude of the American Missions is exactly the same as that stated by you to the effect that they should submit to all reasonable regulations. As soon as the idea underlying the promulgation of the above mentioned provisional regulations has been clearly explained, my Government profoundly believes that the missions of your country will no longer labor under any misapprehension. My Government should certainly exert itself to protect American citizens in the enjoyment of their legal rights under the treaties; however, while the above mentioned regulations are in force some equitable procedure will certainly be followed in order to avoid the possible appearance of vexatious matters and of cases of partiality. In view of the above I feel sure, Mr. Minister, that any apprehension that you may have felt will now be allayed.

I have [etc.]

Wang Chêng-T’ing
  1. Complete text of note apparently not transmitted to the Department.