393.1163 Property/27

The Minister in China (MacMurray) to the Consul at Tsinan (Price)64

Sir: I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch No. L. 69, of November 19, 1928,65 concerning the provisional regulations governing the lease of land and buildings in the interior by foreign missionary societies. It is noted that you renew your suggestion that a complete list of American property in the interior be sent to the appropriate authorities for purposes of record without, however, making reference to the regulations themselves or to the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs’ request for such action. You also suggest that a notification along the lines of a circular letter prepared by you, and enclosed in the despatch under acknowledgment, be sent to the American missions in your district.

While the Legation appreciates the difficulties of the Consulate and of the missions concerned in attempting to avoid a recognition of unacceptable regulations instituted by the Nationalist Government, it is felt that it is not at this time advisable to take the action suggested by you, either as regards the sending in of a list of American property or the notifying of American missionaries in the district along the lines suggested by you. A similar state of affairs is existing in practically every consular district in China; and, while the Legation recognizes the force of the arguments advanced by you, it does not desire to institute any system of procedure with regard to the disputed regulations in one consular district that might in any way affect the Department’s general policy in a matter which it would seem most appropriate to deal with as a whole. You should, however, continue to keep the Legation fully informed of any developments in the local situation that might justify it in reconsidering its position in the matter.

The present instruction is not designed to preclude your informing any interested missions of the Department’s attitude towards these regulations, or to prevent American missions from making a voluntary report to the Chinese authorities concerning the property held by them should they fear that a failure to do so may prejudice the title to such property or otherwise cause them difficulty.

A copy of this instruction has been forwarded to the Department for its information and possible comment.

I am [etc.]

J. V. A. MacMurray
  1. Copy transmitted to the Department by the Minister in China in his despatch No. 1771, Nov. 27, 1928; received Jan. 7, 1929. In instruction No. 1120, Feb. 11, 1929, the Department replied: “Your instruction above referred to has the approval of the Department” (393.1163 Property/30)
  2. Not printed.