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

No. 1082

Sir: Referring to despatch No. 6937 of June 24, 1931, from the Consul General at Shanghai to this Legation, copies of which were forwarded direct to the Department,75 transmitting a copy, in translation, of the regulations recently promulgated governing the examination of pilots,75 and the Legation’s telegram No. 390 of July 5, 6 p.m.,75 quoting a Reuter despatch of July 4th to the effect that the Minister of the Navy has stated that, with the beginning of the new year, only Chinese pilots will be allowed on vessels in Chinese territorial [Page 592] waters, I have the honor to enclose a copy of Consul General Cunningham’s78 despatch No. 6948 of July 3, 1931,79 informing the Legation that the Inspectorate General of Customs is prepared immediately to take over the control of the Shanghai Licensed Pilots’ Association.

The Department will observe that Mr. Cunningham reports that American shipping interests at Shanghai are divided on the question of Government control of pilotage at Shanghai, the most important American shipping firm being of the opinion that such control will result in the compulsory pilotage of all vessels entering Shanghai, and, possibly, in higher pilotage fees.

In view of Article II of the new Regulations referred to above, which requires that only citizens of the Republic of China may present themselves for examination as pilots, and in view of the declaration of the Minister of the Navy that only Chinese pilots may be permitted to function in this country, the Legation is of the opinion that the Chinese Government seriously contemplates eliminating foreign pilots from Chinese waters, and, accordingly, has the honor to request the Department’s instructions as to the attitude the Legation and the Consul General at Shanghai should assume should an attempt be made to take over the Pilots’ Association by the Chinese Maritime Customs.

Respectfully yours,

For the Minister:
C. Van H. Engert

First Secretary of Legation
  1. Not printed.
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  4. Edwin S. Cunningham, who was also Senior Consul at Shanghai.
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