The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Shanghai (Cunningham)

Sir: The Department has received your despatch No. 8933 of May 31, 1933, and its enclosure,41 a letter from Mr. Charles W. Rankin, President of the University of China, addressed to the President of the United States, appealing from a ruling by this Department to the effect that the treaties with China confer no right on American missionary societies to maintain schools for the combined secular and religious education of Chinese free from regulation by the Chinese authorities and that accordingly the Department could not oppose the efforts of the Chinese authorities to require the registration of the University of China in accordance with Chinese regulations.

Mr. Rankin’s letter was transmitted to the White House and has been returned to this Department for reply. You will accordingly so inform Mr. Rankin and state that while the Department is not disposed to question the correctness of his views as to the usefulness and effectiveness of schools for missionary purposes, that question [Page 610] is not involved in the Department’s decision under reference. That decision is based solely on the ground that the treaties with China do not confer on American missionary societies the right to maintain schools for the combined secular and religious instruction of Chinese free from regulation by the appropriate Chinese authorities. The arguments adduced by Mr. Rankin in his letter under reference do not appear to afford any basis for a modification of the Department’s position, and the Department is therefore impelled to reaffirm its ruling in the matter under reference.

Since there is no apparent reason why Mr. Rankin could not have transmitted his letter to the President directly, the Department is unable to perceive any reason for its transmission through the Consulate General and the Department, and you are accordingly instructed to refrain from acting as a medium of transmission for communications of this character.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Harry F. Payer
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