The Consul General at Hong Kong (Hoover) to the Secretary of State

No. 193

Sir: I have the honor to refer to previous reports from this Consulate General regarding the passing of arms and ammunition through Hong Kong into South China, and in particular to my telegram of September 4, 11 a.m.79 stating that the Hong Kong police have just informed this office that as from October 1, export permits from the countries of origin will be required for all shipments of arms and ammunition passing through the Colony no matter how documented. This new system, instituted by London, is believed to be the result of representations made by the American Government in connection with the freedom with which arms and ammunition have been entering South China contrary to the agreement made with Nanking by all of the arms-manufacturing countries.

Since Belgium and Switzerland appear not to have followed the practice of issuing export permits, the Hong Kong Government plans to require through bills of lading for shipments from these countries destined to South China, in order to establish the transshipment status of their shipments when they arrive in this Colony.

The Hong Kong police feel that the new system will place the onus of establishing the legitimacy of the shipment squarely up to the authorities in the country of origin. In the case of such articles as aeroplanes, the nature of which may be either military or non-military, the manufacturer or his agent must in some way satisfy the local authorities as to their non-military character, should they arrive in Hong Kong without export permits from the country of origin. It has not yet definitely been determined what these requirements will be. The police have been informed that the United States Government has not been issuing export permits for non-military planes, and that the absence of such a permit would tend to show the legitimacy of the shipment from the point of view of the American authorities. It is considered possible that American exporters of commercial aircraft may encounter difficulties in this connection.

Respectfully yours,

Chas. L. Hoover
  1. Not printed.