893.00/12941: Telegram

The Chargé in China ( Gauss ) to the Secretary of State

47. Reference my 37, January 26, noon.

The Legation has now received a formal note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs communicating the request of the Ministry [Page 669] of Military Administration that the foreign diplomatic representatives be asked to instruct their shipping companies to permit the hiring of their vessels to assist in the transportation of Government troops to Szechuan to deal with the Communist menace, the Chinese vessels available being inadequate to supply the full needs of the Government.
The Legation proposes, subject to the Department’s approval, to reply that under the treaties American vessels are not required to transport Chinese troops and that the Legation is unable, therefore, to instruct American owners of vessels to make them available to the Chinese authorities for that purpose.
As the American vessels apparently propose to carry these Chinese troops the effect of this reply [is] simply to reserve our rights under article 28 of the treaty of 1844.76
Legation is informed that the British Legation is not replying to the Foreign Office note for the time being but is communicating its contents to the British shipping companies with the suggestion that they act as they consider that their interests best dictate. British attitude toward this matter differs from ours, so far as taken, in that British authorities have indicated a willingness to support British companies in order to ensure enforcement of any agreement for transporting troops entered into between them and the Chinese authorities. While we might decide to do likewise, I do not believe that any assurance on the point should be tendered to the American companies.
  1. Hunter Miller (ed.), Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, vol. 4, pp. 559, 568.