Marshal Ten Hsi-shan of Shansi Province to the American Minister in China (Johnson)50
Your telegram of the 14th instant has been noted. As regards your request for the investigation of the official sale of cigarettes and cigars in Shansi Province, an instruction was immediately issued to those concerned for investigation and reply. I am now in receipt of a reply from the Bureau of Finance of Shansi, stating in effect as follows:
“This official sale of cigarettes and cigars in Shansi does not by any means operate to prevent the direct sale of foreign goods to merchants. [Page 296] It is an official sale of goods purchased from the merchants in Shansi dealing in cigarettes and cigars with the intent to determine the exact amount of cigarettes and cigars consumed in Shansi and to seek for detailed and accurate statistics regarding internal administration and, further, by means of this, to prevent evasion duties.
“Chinese merchants will still be free to order any kind of cigarettes or cigars from outside in accordance with the regulations. There is really no intention to contravene treaties and regulations.”
I have the honor to observe that since, in accordance with the above statement, such official sale is designed to obtain statistics of internal administration and to prevent evasion of duties, it does not constitute any contravention (of treaties). Aside from having instructed the Bureau of Finance to observe the treaties and regulations and to exercise constant care, it is requested that you will transmit this information to your merchants in order that they may not misunderstand the situation.
- Telegram received by the Minister in China in Chinese code; copy of translation transmitted to the Department by the Minister in his despatch No. 53, March 1, 1930; received March 28.↩