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

No. 1801

Sir: With reference to the Department’s telegraphic instruction No. 295, August 30, 6 p.m. concerning the termination of the agreement signed on February 17, 1930,7 which abolished the former Shanghai Provisional Court in the International Settlement at Shanghai and substituted the present District Court and the Branch High Court, I have the honor to report that Counselor Peck was acquainted with the contents of this instruction at the time of his brief visit to Peiping during the first week in September, and he was later supplied with a paraphrase of the instruction, for his guidance in the event that the question of the Shanghai Courts came up for discussion by him and the Chinese authorities. Under date of October 17th Mr. Peck advised the Legation that the subject had not been brought up by any Chinese officials since the receipt of the Legation’s instructions, and so had not been a matter of discussion. Mr. Peck, however, enclosed with his despatch a copy of a memorandum of a conversation initiated by Mr. E. M. B. Ingram, British Chargé [Page 652] d’Affaires, with Dr. Lo Wen-kan on October 13th, in regard to the Shanghai District Court question. A copy of Mr. Peck’s despatch under reference is transmitted herewith.10 The Department will note that Dr. Lo stated that he had appointed a Committee to examine all complaints about the working of the Court with a view to remedying them, as far as possible; that until the Committee reported no action could be taken in the matter by the Chinese Government; that he was keeping a very watchful eye on the administration of the Court and was seeking in various ways to remedy its shortcomings; that he believed an improvement had been effected during the past year, and that he was all for dealing with difficulties in this way, improving the Courts by a gradual process of adjustment. It will also be noted that Dr. F. T. Cheng, Vice Minister of Justice, expressed similar views to Mr. Ingram and stated that he considered his proposal for the prolongation of the present agreement tactically worthy of serious consideration as soon as the Committee studying the problem had reported.

There is also transmitted for the Department’s information a copy of a memorandum of a conversation had by me with Mr. Ingram at Peiping on October 29, 1932,10 in regard to his discussions on this subject with Dr. Lo Wen-kan and Mr. Wu Tieh-cheng, the Mayor of Shanghai. Mr. Ingram stated that Dr. Lo appeared to be in favor of prolonging the present agreement and that Mr. Wu Tieh-cheng had expressed himself as in favor of prolongation. Mr. Ingram recalled that when the first agreement was made the Japanese had not participated because the Chinese had insisted that Japanese extraterritorial rights had lapsed. He added that the Japanese would not be so complacent should another revision take place, for they would insist upon participation, and had so informed the Consular Body of Shanghai, with the request that they be informed of the steps taken in regard to the matter.

Respectfully yours,

Nelson Trusler Johnson
  1. Ibid., 1930, vol. ii, p. 333.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Not printed.