693.116/88: Telegram

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

744. Department’s 314, September 11, 4 p.m.

1. Following from Consul General, Canton, to the Legation and Nanking:

“September 11, 4 p.m. Nanking’s September 9, noon. Item 529 of new customs tariff has never been enforced here (see my despatches numbers 175 of February 4th and 226 of August 22,92 page 7).

I am of the opinion that protests now should emphasize fact that the prescribed application form for registration is so worded that if it were subscribed to by an American firm it could be interpreted as a renunciation of treaty rights. The Chinese authorities have shifted their grounds so that it might be inadvisable to protest on any other basis.

In view of the fact that the Chinese authorities maintain that their requirements in regard to registration are not in contravention of treaty rights, would the Legation be disposed to approve my suggesting to the local authorities, as a compromise, that the prescribed application form be amended so as to permit foreign firms to reserve rights guaranteed by treaty and so that references to regulation of output and to business tax would be omitted.”

2. Peck has been informed of the Department’s 283, August 12, 2 p.m. and directed to see Soong as well as an appropriate official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

3. Consul General at Canton has been instructed that the Legation perceives no objection to his endeavoring to obtain revision of the application as suggested by him in third paragraph of his September 11, 4 p.m.

  1. Neither printed.