893.113/1239: Telegram

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

317. 1. On April 3rd Ministries [Ministry?] of Foreign Affairs wrote the Heads of Legation in China transmitting provisional regulations governing the issuance by the National Government of licenses for arms to be used for and by foreign travellers and residents in China with the request that their respective nationals be instructed to take note thereof. The regulations provide:

Licenses must be applied for by all foreigners possessing guns including sporting guns when travelling or residing in any part of China.
Foreigners must first obtain from nearest hsien, or municipal government, application forms giving name, nationality, occupation, make of arms, serial number and quantity of ammunition. Form must be countersigned by consul as guaranty and submitted with the arms for inspection with photographs and license fee to the appropriate hsien, or municipal government, for transmission to the provincial or special municipal government. Foreign diplomatic officials accredited to China shall apply through the Ministries [Ministry?] of Foreign Affairs to the Ministries [Ministry?] of Military Administration.
Each license to cover one firearm only.
Arms for self-defense limited to one firearm and 200 rounds of ammunition. Hunters to be allowed one extra sporting gun under separate license.
Applicants would also submit 5 half-length photographs 2 inches square and fee of $2. Diplomatic officials may be granted license without fee.
No erasures or changes in licenses permitted nor are licenses transferable.
Arms to be used for self-defense may only be employed in time of utmost danger when recourse to firearms is only means of self-defense.
License must always be kept with arms and ammunition covered by it and must be exhibited for inspection whenever required by Chinese customs or barriers or by military or police, latter returned to bearer if found in order.
If arms do not agree with license or if description of holder is at variance with photograph the weapons will be confiscated and license cancelled.
In case foreign bearer of such license violates these regulations or performs any other unlawful act in connection therewith local Chinese authorities may detain him together with the weapons submitting a report to their superiors for consideration and action.
License not to be valid in district where travel is forbidden.
License to be valid for one year only.
Regulations to be effective from date of promulgation.

2. Similar regulations have been sent by the municipalities concerned to American Consular officers at Tientsin, Tsingtau, Tsinanfu, Shanghai, Canton, Chefoo and Foochow. The applicability to foreign nationals of these regulations is to be considered at next meeting of the diplomatic body.

3. Following telegram has been received from the Minister:

“May 7, 3 p.m. From the Minister: With reference to the Foreign Office’s circular of April 3rd regarding firearms permits, I am in favor of bringing regulations to the attention of American citizens in China for their guidance. Please inform Department and colleagues.’”

For the Minister:
  1. Telegram in three sections.