893.113/1304: Telegram

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

406. Following telegram has been received from Consulate at Hong Kong.

“July 7, 4 p.m. According to the local agent of L. E. Gale Company7 eight military planes are expected to arrive in Hong Kong shortly from England and Germany for Cantonese Government. The agent complains that shipments of military supplies of various sorts are being made freely from European countries to Canton whereas the United States Government will not permit the exportation of articles of this sort to Canton under present conditions.

It appears that Hong Kong Government is permitting military supplies to pass through to Canton if satisfied that shipments are direct. Colonial Secretary tells me that this is being done under provision of Barcelona convention of 19218 as interpreted by the British Foreign Office, but that no shipments originating in Hong Kong are permitted to go to Canton. From what I can gather considerable quantity of munitions, apparently from Germany and other European countries, are now passing through Hong Kong to Canton.

The Colonial Secretary says he does not know specifically from what countries these supplies originate but it is his understanding that the British regulations respecting the exportation of arms to China are identical with those now in force in the United States. While I do not see that the Gale Corporation has any cause for complaint and have so informed the agent, I have promised to bring the matter to the attention of the Legation.”

Canton informed.

  1. American federal corporation.
  2. Multilateral convention and statute on freedom of transit, signed April 20, 1921, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. vii, p. 11.