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

No. 91

Sir: The Department has received from the American Consul at Foochow his despatch No. 321, of January 10, 1930, reporting the detention by a Chinese censor of a telegram despatched by the Consul to the American Legation at Peiping. Copies of this despatch are believed to have been sent to the Legation.

It will be noted that the communication of January 8, 1930, addressed by the Japanese Consul General and Senior Consul to the Chinese Defence Commissioner at Foochow, was drafted by the American Consulate. It is requested that the Legation inform the American Consulate at Foochow that the Department concurs in the view that

“Under international law a consular officer has the right of free communication with his own government and with the diplomatic and consular representatives of his government stationed in the same territory; the consular officer may use the post or telegraph and he may send his messages in cipher.”

The sentence quoted is to be found in the second paragraph of the communication of January 8, 1930, already referred to. The Department approves the action taken by the American Consul at Foochow in participating in this joint protest to the Chinese authorities as set forth in the latter part of the same paragraph.

I am [etc.]

For the Acting Secretary of State:
Francis White