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

No. 3417

Sir: I have the honor to refer to the Legation’s despatch No. 3347 of February 8, 1935,96 in regard to the new Customs Preventive Regulations, and to enclose a copy of the translation of a note dated February 25, 1935, from the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs.96

The Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs reiterates the position of the Chinese Government in this matter, continuing to maintain that the Sino-American Tariff Treaty of 192897 granted to China the right to impose fines on American nationals and to confiscate their property.

In view of this reiteration of the Chinese position, the Legation has deemed it desirable to reply to the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and affirm the Department’s attitude. Accordingly, in a note dated March 8, 1935, a copy of which is enclosed,96 the Legation has invited attention to the circumstances leading up to the establishment of the Rules of 1868, has strongly dissented from the view taken by the Chinese Government, has insisted upon the correctness of the Department’s position, and has affirmed the American Government’s full reservation of its rights and the rights of American nationals under the treaties and related agreements as they may be affected by the operation of the Customs Preventive Law.

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The British Legation informs me that it has received no reply to the informal letter upon this subject of the British Minister to Mr. Wang Ching-wei of January 11, 1935, a copy of which formed the second enclosure99 to the Legation’s despatch No. 3347 of February 8, 1935.

In connection with the collateral question of the enforcement of the Customs Preventive Regulations in the International Settlement at Shanghai against non-extraterritorial nationals, and Chinese, the Shanghai Consul General,1 in a despatch to the Legation No. 8341 of February 26, 1935, copies of which were supplied directly to the Department,99 requested authorization to give his assent to the conclusion of the proposed agreement between the Municipal Council and the Maritime Customs authorities. The Legation in an instruction in reply of March 8, 1935, a copy of which is enclosed,99 granted the authorization requested.

Respectfully yours,

Nelson Trusler Johnson
  1. Not printed.
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  3. Signed at Peking, July 25, 1928, Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. ii, p. 475.
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  6. Edwin S. Cunningham.
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