The Department of State to the British Embassy


Referring to the British Embassy’s aide-mémoire of May 23, 1933,1 stating that on May 17 the Counselor of the Chinese Legation at London called at the British Foreign Office and said that he had been instructed to ascertain the views of His Majesty’s Government on the question of the elevation of the Legations in China to the status of Embassies, it is noted that the present view of His Majesty’s Government is that the moment is not opportune for making any change in the status of the missions in China.

With regard to the desire of His Majesty’s Government to know whether a similar inquiry has been received by the American Government and, if so, what attitude toward it is being adopted, it may be said that on April 5 the Chinese Minister called at the Department of State and stated that his Government wished to know what would be the attitude of the American Government toward a proposal at this time to raise the diplomatic missions of the two countries reciprocally [Page 699]to the grade of Embassies. The Chinese Minister stated that the same inquiry was being made in London and in Paris. The Department has as yet made no reply to the Chinese Minister’s inquiry and has had since the date of his call no further discussion of the subject with him. The attitude of the American Government toward this question, which has been raised at intervals by the Chinese Government over a period of years, continues as in the past to be adverse, on the ground that conditions in China do not yet afford warrant for taking a step of this sort.

Note has been made of the statement contained in the British Embassy’s aide-mémoire under reference to the effect that the British Government would not propose to make any definite change in this matter until there has been full and frank discussion with the other interested powers. It has also been the position of the Department of State that, if at any time the American Government should find itself favorably disposed toward a request of this nature on the part of the Chinese Government, the Department would first confer with and/or give notice to the other interested governments.

It will thus be observed that the position of the American Government toward the inquiry made by the Chinese Minister on this subject is that circumstances do not warrant making the requested change at this time and is thus similar to the position of the British Government.

  1. Not printed.