893.012/40: Telegram

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

652. My 576, July 16, 5 p.m.

Following urgent telegram received from American Consul General at Shanghai:

“July 29, 11 a.m. Permit me to urge early action in this case. There is an important principle involved which will affect large number of Sino-American citizens if the Chinese authorities are permitted without prejudice to arrest and arbitrarily detain Char without judicial authority. It would [not?] be unreasonable to presume that it will be cited as a precedent affecting American citizens having no consanguineous relations with China. I have no sympathy with Char, who has been endeavoring to carry water on both shoulders, but it is hoped this case will be dealt with definitely and expeditiously by the Department.

As having a bearing on my 5978 of May 17th, the following sketch of Char was furnished this office by the Commissioner of Foreign Affairs on July 15th as having been filed by Char with the Ministry of Railways: ‘Char Wai-yuan, 36, is a native of Chungshan, Kwangtung, having graduated from the law school of the Southern California University, United States of America. He has hitherto practiced law in Shanghai and has acted as a legal adviser to the Currency Supervision Bureau of the Ministry of Finance.’

This biographical sketch does not preclude his having been born in the United States but it would appear under Chinese interpretation to mean that he is by consanguinity of Kwangtung Province.

Copies of Char’s applications to the Ministry of Railways and other National Government branches were solicited from the Chinese authorities early this year but without previous success.”

Shanghai Chinese press and other Chinese opinion quoted in a despatch from Cunningham dated July 25th admit Char’s dual nationality but hold that when legal issues arise the courts of the country of domicile are in accordance with international law and usage to have jurisdiction and that Char is accordingly obviously subject to orders of the Chinese courts.
Legation awaits instructions of Department.
  1. Telegram in three sections.