893.918/52: Telegram

The Consul General at Canton ( Jenkins ) to the Secretary of State

The chief of the Foreign Office section of the municipality informed me unofficially this morning that Civil Governor intends to issue an order expelling G. Edward Lyon from Canton within 24 hours because Lyon had sent a news despatch to the Hongkong Morning Post alleging differences among high officials in this province respecting support of Chiang Kai-shek. Lyon is an American lawyer and local newspaper correspondent. The chief of the Foreign Office section said he had called personally in the hope that some way may be found of avoiding an unpleasant incident.

In reply I pointed out that the United States Government still insisted upon its extraterritorial rights, that I considered the article excessively biased, and deplored the arbitrary attitude of the Chinese officials in relation to the freedom of the press. At the same time I said forcibly that if Lyon had written the item in question, I would endeavor to have him express his regrets and also promise to avoid articles likely to offend local government officials in the future. I said this was about as far as I could go, and I thought it should be acceptable to the Governor.

Lyon has promised to follow my suggestions as indicated above and even to go so far as to abandon reporting for Hong Kong papers entirely, since he is primarily a lawyer. He has arranged through this office to confer with the chief of the Foreign Affairs section this afternoon, and I hope the matter will thus be arranged. If Lyon were a public newspaperman representing Chinese publications, I should be inclined to advise him to insist upon his rights regardless of the outcome, but such a course does not seem advantageous in the present instance.

Department and Legation informed.

Jenkins