The Secretary of State to the British Chargé ( Osborne )

Sir: I have the honor to refer to my note of August 1, 1935, and previous correspondence, in regard to the regulations governing the exportation of arms and implements of war to China. I invite your attention particularly to paragraph two of the Ambassador’s note of April 8, in which it was stated that your Government had obtained information from several specified governments from which it appeared that their attitudes in respect to the exportation of arms to China were wholly satisfactory, in that they indicated unqualified compliance with the regulations of the Chinese Government.

I am now in receipt of information78 which leads me to doubt whether the pertinent regulations of the Czechoslovak Government can be considered as wholly satisfactory. It appears that a shipment, comprising 400 machine guns and two million rounds of ammunition, caliber 7.92, from Brno, Czechoslovakia, is due to arrive in Hong Kong on October 5, consigned to the First Group Army, Canton. I am further informed that the shipment will be covered by a through bill of lading to Canton, and that the Cantonese huchao covering the shipment is already in the hands of the police authorities of Hong Kong. It is to be presumed that this shipment is not covered by a huchao from the Chinese Central Government.

If this information is accurate, it would appear that British and American exporters and exporters of other nationalities whose Governments comply with the regulations of the Chinese Government, in respect to the importation of arms into China, are placed at a disadvantage by the action of the Czechoslovak Government in permitting this shipment.

Accept [etc.]

For the Secretary of State:
R. Walton Moore
  1. Telegram dated August 19, 2 p.m., from the Consul General at Hong Kong; not printed.