893.61831/65: Telegram

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

513. Embassy’s 495, October 12, 5 p.m. The Consulate General at Shanghai telegraphed October 14, noon, as follows:

“President of the Lienhwa Company informs me that they are still unable to do business at Hsuchang for the reason that the Chinese from whom they are renting temporary warehouse is unable to give possession of the premises presumably due to the non-withdrawal of the confidential circular letter of the Hsuchang Chamber of Commerce, a copy of which was enclosed with my despatch number 433 of October 9.65 Company inquires whether it would be possible to send officer from Hankow (perhaps Stevens)66 to Kaifeng and Hsuchang to make representations to provincial and local authorities and endeavor to facilitate matter. Company willing to bear expense.”

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The Embassy October 15, 5 p.m. informed Shanghai and Hankow that it considered it unnecessary at this stage to send a consular officer to Honan, and instructed Nanking as follows:

“October 15, 5 p.m. Shanghai’s October 14, noon. Please bring to the attention of the Foreign Office the circumstances of the case reported Shanghai, and request that prompt steps be taken to give effect to the assurances received that there will be no interference with the legitimate activities of American leaf tobacco merchants in Honan”.

Nanking reported October 17, 2 p.m. as follows:

“I described to the Director of the European American Department of the Foreign Office Oct. 17, 11 a.m. the present difficulties of the Lienhwa Tobacco Company and he promised that the Foreign Office would telegraph the Honan Provincial authorities to attempt to remove obstacles to the renting of warehouse.”

The Embassy next instructed Hankow as follows:

“October 20, 9 a.m. Nanking’s October 17, 2 p.m. Kindly telegraph the Honan Provincial authorities, noting the obstructions which are evidently being offered to American leaf tobacco buyers in Honan (Shanghai’s October 14, noon) despite the Provincial Government’s assurances that there would be no interference with the legitimate activities of American leaf tobacco merchants in the province, and ask that the Hsuchang authorities be directed to conform strictly to the tenor of those assurances and that you be informed promptly by telegraph as soon as this has been done.”

No report has yet been received from Hankow, and the Embassy is now requesting Shanghai to ascertain from the Lienhwa Company whether the obstructions have been removed. If difficulties still exist, the Embassy plans to instruct Hankow to send a consular officer to Hsuchang to deal with the matter direct.

Nanking, Shanghai and Hankow have been kept currently informed.

  1. Not printed.
  2. Harry E. Stevens, Consul at Hankow.