611.9331/172a: Telegram

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

6. Your 935, December 26, 7 p.m.,52 14, January 6, 11 a.m.53 and Department’s 405, December 29, 4 p.m.54 in regard to treaty revision.

Unless you perceive objection thereto (in which event you should inform the Department immediately of your objection and of your suggestions with regard to changes in text or procedure), the Department authorizes you to communicate on date January 13th a reply to the Chinese note of December 23,55 as follows:

“I have the honor to refer to the Chinese Government’s note of December 23, 1933, stating that the third 10-year period of the Sino-American Commercial Treaty of October 8, 1903,56 with Annexes, dating from the exchange of ratifications on January 13, 1904, will expire on January 13, 1934, and expressing a desire ‘independently to negotiate a new treaty …57 on the basis of the principles of equality and reciprocity.’ Under date (blank) I informed you that the contents (or text) of your note under reference had been communicated to my Government.

I am now under instruction to state that the American Government has taken note of the provision contained in the third paragraph of Article 17 of the Treaty of 1903 to the effect that either of the High Contracting Parties may at the end of each 10-year period call for a revision of the articles of that Convention and of the provision contained in the second paragraph of the same Article to the effect that the Treaty shall remain in force until a revision is effected as therein provided.

Continuing to be animated, as it always has been, by the most friendly motives, and desiring in so far as may be practicable to meet the wishes of the Chinese Government in regard to provisions for the regulation of relations between China and the united States, the American Government is prepared to participate in negotiations for revision of the treaty of 1903. As, however, the Chinese Government has suggested the negotiation of a new treaty, the American Government feels that its consideration of this suggestion would be facilitated if the Chinese Government would supply it with further information in regard to the plans and proposals which the Chinese Government [Page 524] has in mind both as regards the substance of the negotiations and the time, the place and the manner in which such negotiations might be conducted. Upon receipt of this information the American Government would expect to give careful consideration to the various problems involved.”

Also, if you perceive no objection, you should inform your British colleague in confidence of the substance of the Chinese note of December 23 and of the above reply, assuring him that you will expect to keep him informed as far as may be practicable and appropriate of developments.
Department is informing the British Embassy here of the substance of paragraph 1 above and requesting that Embassy inform British Foreign Office immediately.
  1. Ibid., p. 567.
  2. Not printed; it reported China’s request for revision of its treaty with Great Britain.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1933, vol. iii, p. 569.
  4. See telegram No. 935, December 26, 1933, from the Minister in China, ibid., p. 567.
  5. Ibid., 1903, p. 91.
  6. Omission indicated in the original telegram.