893.825/47: Telegram

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

258. Reference Shanghai Senior Consul’s circular No. 170–3–11 on May 10, 1934,99 and Legation’s despatches No. 2702 of May 3rd and No. 2770 of June 8th1 concerning pilots. As stated therein licenses [Page 602] of pilots have heretofore been renewed annually on July 1st by the Chinese Government through the Commissioner of Customs at Shanghai. Consular body there apprehensive that the Chinese high authorities, with a view to forcing interested powers to accept new pilot regulations may instruct Commissioner of Customs to refuse renewal of licenses on July 1st. With a view to avoiding dislocation of shipping interests of the port consular body has as precautionary measures suggested an emergency measure which may be resorted to in the event that Commissioner of Customs refuses renewal of licenses. This measure is the renewal of licenses jointly by the Consuls concerned under their several signatures, under the provisions of article 15 of the Sino-French Treaty of 1858 and inferentially under article 7 of the general pilots regulations, paragraph 17. Chinese authorities have taken certain steps to meet objections of interested powers to new pilotage regulations unilaterally established by the Chinese Government and they may eventually be altered satisfactorily to meet other objections of interested powers. However, owing to imminence of time for renewal of licenses of pilots at Shanghai the interested heads of Legation (other than German Minister who considers that under Germany’s present treaty with China3 he cannot join in such consular licensing) have deemed it advisable to acquiesce in the precautionary plan suggested by the Shanghai consular body and have replied to the Senior Consul in part as follows:

“Should, however, the Commissioner of Customs refuse to renew the licenses of the pilots on the 1st of July next or should he offer to renew them under unacceptable conditions the interested heads of Legation (with the exception of the German Minister) authorize the joint renewal of the pilots’ licenses by the Consuls concerned under their several signatures”.

It is hoped that the action taken to meet the emergency described meets with the approval of the Department.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Latter despatch not printed.
  3. Signed at Peking, May 20, 1921, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. ix, p. 271.