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

No. 1244

Sir: Reference is made to your despatch No. 2309 of September 29, 1933,77 in regard to a request received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (a) that prior information be communicated to that Ministry in regard to all future importations into China of whatever nature by the armed forces of the United States, whether imported on vessels of the United States or on merchant vessels, (b) that such importations [Page 566]be certified on arrival, and (c) that the Ministry be kept currently informed in regard to the number of American troops and war vessels stationed in China. You enclose copies of pertinent correspondence exchanged between the Legation and the Naval and Military Attachés.

In view of the opinion of the Naval and Military Attachés that it would neither be practicable nor desirable to comply strictly with the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in view of the fact that the British Legation informed you that it has not received a similar note from that Ministry, you propose to refrain from replying to the Ministry’s note unless pressed to do so. You state that, in the latter event, you propose, subject to the Department’s approval, to inform the Ministry that the Legation would be glad to give consideration from time to time to its request for statistical information in regard to American armed forces in China and that, with regard to the importation of supplies for such forces, the Legation does not find it practicable to obtain and submit to the Ministry in advance lists of such supplies but that, as heretofore, where necessary, proper certification will be made by American consular officers for the importation of supplies through the customs at the several ports.

You are informed that your proposals have the Department’s approval.

Very truly yours,

William Phillips
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