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

No. 1440

Sir: Reference is made to your despatch No. 2810 dated June 27, 1934, in regard to the importation of supplies for the armed forces of the United States in China with which you enclosed a copy of a note dated April 20, 1934, from the Foreign Office to the Legation on this subject and copies of correspondence and memoranda of conversations setting forth the views with regard to this note of the interested American military and naval authorities, the American Consuls General at Shanghai and Tientsin and the British, French and Japanese Legations.

The Department has noted from the last two paragraphs of the despatch under reference that the Legation believes that a reply should be made to the Foreign Office note in question to the effect that while careful consideration has been given to the regulations, they have been found to be impracticable, and that the appropriate American authorities will continue when necessary to issue certificates to cover importation of supplies through the customs at the several ports and to give attentive consideration to and cause strict investigation to be made of any complaints which may be received from the appropriate Chinese authorities with regard to any improper practices and any misuse of supplies imported for military and naval use.

In view of the definite refusal of the Japanese Legation to comply with the proposed regulations, the Department is inclined to doubt the need for any reply at this time to the Foreign Office note. However, if there should be substantial agreement among your colleagues as to the desirability of a reply substantially along the lines suggested in your despatch, you are authorized to reply in that sense to the Foreign Office note if and when similar action should be taken by your principally interested colleagues. You will, of course, inform the Department if any of your colleagues should take or propose to take any action materially inconsistent with that authorized herein.

Very truly yours,

William Phillips