893.113/1236: Telegram

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

293. Legation’s 286, April 24, 4 p.m. With the Department’s approval I propose to reply to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in the following sense with regard to the report concerning the Krippendorff Company:

“The following information has been obtained from the American Consul General at Tientsin: ‘H. F. Krippendorff is a German citizen. Henry W. Krippendorff is a naturalized American citizen but is no longer under the protection of the American Government since the presumption of expatriation has risen against him. Both these men are, however, part owners in the American-Chinese Export and Import Company, an American corporation established at Tientsin.’

The American Government does not exercise jurisdiction over these two individuals; but should this corporation attempt to smuggle contraband goods into China the American authority would be prepared to take appropriate action. Should, however, the corporation import such goods in a regular manner through huchaus issued by the Chinese customs it would not seem that the American authorities would be in a position to intervene in the matter.”

It is my understanding that the custom[s] at Tientsin has in practice no alternative other than to recognize huchaus issued by the Superintendent of Customs who is a Yen Hsi-shan adherent. Although the Tientsin corporate interest [customs?] is subject in certain respects to the dictates of a regional government, I am informed that it preserves intact the local revenues for the Central Government.

For the Minister: