393.1121 Smit, Albert H./32

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

No. 440

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of the Department’s instruction No. 147, of June 17, 1930, in reference to a memorandum of a conversation which I had with the United States District Attorney at Shanghai on March 11, 1930, wherein particular reference was made to the statement that I was of the opinion that it was quite within the province of the Chinese to issue or refuse to issue a motor car license without giving cause. The language of the memorandum of conversation in question is hurried and inadequate. I had reference generally to what I conceive to be the right of the Chinese to refuse to issue or to revoke a license for the usual causes, but without necessarily giving reasons when the reasons were as obvious as was the case with Mr. Smit. I quite agree with the Department that under ordinary circumstances, Chinese officials should be expected to grant to Americans the same privileges in regard to the use and operation of motor cars as may be enjoyed by the nationals most favored in such matters. But when an individual American proves himself guilty of abuse of those privileges, or of inability to operate a car with safety to the traffic in which he is travelling, then I feel that the right lies with the Chinese authorities summarily to withdraw the license which they have issued, either permanently or temporarily.

Respectfully yours,

Nelson Trusler Johnson