893.012/38: Telegram

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

576. Reference my despatch 2117 of May 31, 1929.68 Following from Shanghai:

“July 12, 11 a.m. Char Wai Yuen having disregarded the warning of this office to refrain from going into Chinese-controlled territory until all jurisdictional dispute in connection with his case had been settled was arrested in the office of the Commissioner of Foreign Affairs where he had gone to discuss matters of interest to some of his clients. He was allowed to telephone this office and requested its assistance in securing his release, which request was made, but the Chinese authorities refused to release him. It appears that they intend to compel him to serve in a Chinese jail the three months’ sentence inflicted by the appellate branch of the Provisional Court. Aside from the question of removal, such imprisonment is contrary to the Mixed Court rendition agreement69 since prisoners given jail sentences by the Provisional Court are incarcerated in the municipal prison attached to that court. It is requested that the Legation refer this matter with its comments to the Department for instructions, and/or file a protest with the Minister for Foreign Affairs at Nanking. In this connection reference is made to section 2000 of the Revised Statutes under the title ‘Release of citizens imprisoned by foreign governments.’”

[Garbled group] following received from Shanghai:

“123, July 15, 3 p.m. No reply has yet been received to my 122, July 12, 11 a.m., but the suggestion is ventured that the Legation request the Minister for Foreign Affairs to instruct the Chinese judicial authorities at Shanghai to release Char on substantial security pending a settlement of his citizenship status. The Commissioner of Foreign Affairs has refused to entertain such a request but it is believed the judicial authorities may take such action if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs directs.

The case is attracting considerable attention locally because it appears that Char was tricked into making his visit to the Bureau of Foreign Affairs. It appears that Char and the Commissioner have been friends for some years and when the Commissioner asked Char to come to the Bureau of Foreign Affairs to discuss certain matters concerning some of Char’s clients which were being discussed over the telephone, Char proceeded there, not thinking that his friend would betray him.”

Since reply to Legation’s despatch No. 2117 of May 31, 1929, has not been received, Department’s telegraphic instructions are requested. [Page 517] In the event Department rules Char has expatriated himself as American citizen by actions described in Shanghai’s despatch No. 6178 of May 17th, the matter appears to be one for action by consular body as violation Mixed Court rendition agreement in reference to Chinese citizen.

  1. Telegram in three sections.
  2. Not printed; it refers to despatch No. 6178, May 17, from the Consul General at Shanghai, supra.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1926, vol. i, p. 1035.