893.711/87: Telegram

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

1241. Your 356, October 24, 3 p.m. As the result of an informal and personal letter written by British Chargé d’Affaires to Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs, latter has offered suggestion that British press should in principle accept the regulations as a whole and agree to register with the Ministry of the Interior, it being understood that this action would not mean any interference with the liberty of the press. Lo proposes that for its part the Foreign Office would undertake not to enforce those articles regarding registration, etc., with the Kuomintang nor to impose fine. Chinese Foreign Office further suggested an exchange of letters between Foreign Minister and British Chargé d’Affaires placing on record the letter of Foreign Office to waive certain rights under legislation in question. The idea is that any complaints which might arise against British press could be dealt with adequately through diplomatic channels.

Ingram and I consider that registration with Ministry of the Interior is reasonable request provided registration does not imply application to British or American journals of domestic Chinese legislation contrary to extraterritorial rights of our nationals. We are agreed that it would be unwise to make this the subject of an exchange of notes. We believe that it would be sufficient provided we are given to understand that no attempt will be made to apply regulations in their completeness to our nationals. On such understanding we will advise our nationals to register with Minister of Interior. Does the Department perceive any objection to this suggestion if it can be worked out?