493.11/1661: Telegram

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

8. Your 1395, December 28, 8 p.m.84 Department requests that at an opportune moment within the near future you inform the appropriate authorities of the Chinese Government, both orally and in writing, that the time has now come when the American Government must request of the Chinese Government constructive action in regard to the determination and adjustment of the latter’s outstanding obligations to American citizens and that, while the American Government does not wish to stipulate any particular course of action, it strongly urges the acceptance by China of the draft convention enclosed with the Department’s instruction 643 of December 10, 1931.85 which provides for the adjudication of Chinese claims against the American Government as well as American claims against the Chinese Government. In presenting this matter to the Chinese Government you are requested to follow closely, both as to substance and phraseology, the Department’s instruction 853 of August 26, 1932.86

In the event that you encounter serious opposition on the part of the Chinese Government to the proposed procedure on the ground that it is financially unable to effect settlement at this time of its outstanding obligations to American citizens, you may point out that [Page 629] the proposed convention makes no provision for the payment of claims adjudicated and that therefore its adoption per se will entail no immediate expenditure other than the relatively small sum necessary to support the commission, the expenses of which are to be shared equally by the Chinese and American Governments.

With reference to the penultimate paragraph of your telegram under reference, the Department does not intend at this time to inform the British Government of the proposed action indicated above and believes it advisable that mention be not made of it to your British or other colleagues.