611.9331/143: Telegram

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

104. Legation’s telegrams 82, February 1, 8 p.m.,11 paragraph 2, respecting the new Chinese tariff; and 98, February 9, 3 p.m.,11 and previous, interpreting article I of the Sino-American tariff treaty.

In order to avoid so far as the United States is concerned the establishment of a precedent which might prove a source of embarrassment [Page 788] under different circumstances in the future, I venture to recommend that I be authorized to address to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the occasion of the exchange of ratifications of our treaty, a note recalling that, while by its terms it is to become operative four months subsequently to the exchange of ratifications, the executive branch in the meantime is not disposed to initiate any protest against the application by China of the new import tariff12 notwithstanding the fact that as regards the United States it has as yet no legal basis.
The representatives of Germany, Great Britain, France and Japan have no occasion for taking such action since each of those countries either by the fulfillment of the prescribed procedure or by other formal action has acquiesced in the enforcement of the new tariff. Other diplomatic colleagues likewise consider it advisable to notify the Chinese Government of the fact that their respective countries have adopted ex gratia a passive attitude toward the application of the new tariff.
  1. Not printed.
  2. Not printed.
  3. For previous correspondence regarding new Chinese import tariff, see Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. ii, pp. 370 ff.