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

No. 1199

Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 1951 dated February 21, 1929, enclosing a copy of despatch No. 14 dated February 15, 1929, from the American Consul at Tsinan,60 in which the Consul raises the question of the advice that should be given to American citizens and firms resident within the Japanese occupied area in the absence of any responsible Chinese authorities and the apparent disinclination of the Japanese to assume responsibility. A copy of your instruction in reply dated February 21 was also enclosed60 in which you instructed the Consul to inform interested American citizens and firms of the conditions obtaining in the area, leaving the question of their remaining or of leaving the district for the decision of the individual or firm concerned. You added that in the event of an actual case of loss or damage to an American citizen or firm you would request a ruling from the Department concerning the question of political responsibility and the procedure to be followed in filing claim for loss or damage.

It would seem from information reaching the Department that a settlement of the Tsinan incident has been reached between the Japanese and Chinese Governments which provides inter alia for the withdrawal of Japanese troops from Shantung. In the event that this is carried out, it seems probable that the unusual circumstances hitherto obtaining in the area along the Shantung Railway affected by the presence and activities of the Japanese military forces will cease, and that American citizens and firms living or represented in that area will look to the responsible Chinese authorities for protection in the same manner as in other parts of China.

The Department believes that any American citizen or firm desiring the assistance of the Department in the presentation of a claim for indemnification of losses suffered in the region along the Shantung Railway during the period of the occupation of that Railway by Japanese military forces should be asked to prepare his claim in accordance with the form prescribed by the Department. Upon receipt of the application, the Department would consider it with a view to determining whether the grounds upon which it was based were sufficient to warrant its presentation to the Government indicated in the application as the one responsible.

A copy of this instruction is transmitted herewith to be forwarded to the American Consul at Tsinan.

I am [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
Nelson Trusler Johnson
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