893.113/1538: Telegram

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

156. Your 218, May 19, 3 p.m., and previous, in regard to the export of arms and munitions to China.

You are authorized to inform the Chinese Foreign Office12 in reply to its note of April 21 that the American Government will continue, as heretofore, to exercise strict control over the export to [Page 500] China from the United States of arms and munitions of war; and that in response to the request contained in the Foreign Office’s note under reference and in a note received by the Department of State, under date April 20, from the Chinese Minister at Washington, the regulations governing the exportation from the United States of arms and munitions to China, as amended, now provide that exportation will be permitted when (a) an application for license to export has been submitted by the firm or firms in the United States which desire to make shipment and (b) the Department of State has been informed through appropriate diplomatic channels (ordinarily, the Chinese Legation in Washington) that it is the desire of the Chinese Government that export of the shipment be authorized. You should add that the American Government effects this change in procedure upon the understanding that the Chinese Government will enforce its regulations uniformly in respect to all imports of arms and munitions of war irrespective of source and in such manner as to insure that American exporters will not be placed at a disadvantage as compared with exporters of other nationalities.13
In informing consulates in China and at Hong Kong of the foregoing please request all consular officers to follow with care the situation in regard to the import into China of arms and munitions of war and to report promptly to the Legation and to the Department important developments, especially those which may indicate that the Chinese regulations, as enforced, result in placing American exporters at a disadvantage as compared with their principal foreign competitors. In this connection the Consulates General at Hong Kong and Canton should study carefully British procedure at Hong Kong particularly with a view to ascertaining whether huchaos issued by the Canton Government are acceptable to the British authorities and whether such authorities continue in their past practice of considering all aircraft as commercial, and therefore not subject to restrictions unless actually armed at the moment of importation.
  1. The Legation’s note to the Foreign Office in accordance with this instruction was dated June 4, 1934 (893.113/1552).
  2. The above was reported by the Department’s note of June 1, 1934, to the Chinese Minister in reply to his note of April 20, p. 490 (893.113/1541).