711.00111 Armament Control/978

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

No. 224

Sir: I enclose a copy of a note of July 16, 1936, from the Chinese Ambassador in Washington,38 in regard to the regulations governing the exportation of arms, ammunition, and implements of war to the International Settlement in Shanghai. There are also enclosed two copies of the pamphlet, Laws and Regulations Administered by the Secretary of State Governing the International Traffic in Arms, Ammunition, and Implements of War and Other Munitions of War, to Section VII of which the Ambassador refers.

You will observe that the Ambassador objects to an alleged discrimination in favor of the International Settlement embodied in the regulation which he quotes. It is possible that the Ambassador mistakenly believes that the regulation applies to arms shipped to the [Page 563]International Settlement for commercial sales. This is not the case. The permission of the Chinese Government is required before licenses are issued for the export to the International Settlement of arms intended for commercial sale. The regulation quoted applies only to shipments to the Municipal authorities in the International Settlement for the use of their own police forces. As these authorities are not under the direction or control of the Chinese Government, it was felt that they should not be obliged to request permission from that Government for the exportation of arms from the United States.

The regulation is one which has been followed for a number of years by the Department in its administration of the President’s Proclamation of March 4, 1922,39 without any objection having been raised. In point of fact, exports of arms from the United States to the Shanghai Municipal authorities rarely occur. There has been but one export license issued for such a shipment since the publication of the first edition of the above-mentioned pamphlet on October 10, 1935.

You are requested to bring the enclosed note from the Chinese Ambassador, together with the considerations presented in this instruction, to the attention of the Consul General in Shanghai, and to report to the Department such comment as you or he may wish to make in the premises. It would be of especial interest to discover what procedure was followed by the British and French Governments in the issuance of licenses for the export of arms to the Municipal authorities of the International Settlement, and what procedure was followed by the French in connection with the importation of arms into the French concession for the use of the local police.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Wilbur J. Carr