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

No. 2702

Subject: Efforts of the Chinese Government to Establish New Pilotage Authority in China; Examination of C. F. Erbe as Pilot

Sir: With reference to the legation’s despatch No. 2674 of April 21, 1934,96 in regard to the above subject, I have the honor to enclose for the Department’s information a copy of despatch No. 7902 of April 18, 1934, from the American Consul General at Shanghai to the Legation, transmitting copy of the translation of a letter addressed to the [Page 601] Senior Consul at Shanghai by the Mayor of that city under date of April 10, 1934.97 This letter quotes a lengthy communication received by the Mayor from the Ministry of Navy, which appears to have devised the whole scheme with a view to acquiring control of pilotage and other shipping matters to the exclusion of the Chinese Maritime Customs. In this communication the Ministry named seeks to establish the right of the Chinese Government unilaterally to abrogate or alter the General Pilotage Regulations which have long been enforced with the approval of the interested foreign Powers.

It is to be noted that this further effort of the Ministry of the Navy to negotiate this matter through the unusual medium of the Mayor of Shanghai and the Consular Body in that city has been made while the matter is being negotiated by the interested Legations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in consultation with the Ministry of Finance, which is recognized by the Foreign Office as the Chinese Government organ controlling the whole matter of pilotage.

In reference to the second paragraph of the Legation’s despatch No. 2674 of April 21, 1934, to the Department, there is enclosed for the Department’s information a copy of Counselor Peck’s98 despatch No. 283 of April 20, 1934,99 reporting the action taken by him in carrying out the Legation’s telegraphic instruction of April 18, 9 a.m., in regard to the examination under the approved rules of Apprentice Pilot C. F. Erbe, an American citizen, whom the Chinese authorities propose to examine for the position of pilot under the new rules unilaterally established by the Government, with resultant protests from and non-recognition by the interested foreign Powers.

Counselor Peck and the American Consul General at Shanghai have been supplied with a copy of this despatch for their information and guidance.

Respectfully yours,

For the Minister:
C. E. Gauss

Counselor of Legation
  1. See footnote 95, p. 599.
  2. Neither printed.
  3. Willys R. Peck, Counselor of Legation and Consul General at Nanking.
  4. Not printed.