893.4061 Motion Pictures/194: Telegram

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

278. Your despatch No. 748, September 29, 1936, concerning confiscation of American motion picture films by the Chinese National [Page 677] Motion Picture Censorship Committee. The Department approves the action taken by the Embassy in regard to this matter.

The Department has carefully reviewed this case and concurs in the view expressed by the Embassy that the confiscation of the two films in question is clearly in contravention of Sino-American treaties and that the question of confiscation has no relation to the question whether the films are, or are not, objectionable, or whether producers have been guilty of wrongful practices. It is suggested, accordingly, that the Embassy, unless it perceive objection, informally approach the appropriate Chinese authorities for the purpose of informing the Chinese Government of this Government’s view and obtaining, if possible, the return to the owners of the films and that in the event this move does not achieve the desired result the Embassy lodge, as under instruction, a formal protest with the Foreign Office against the arbitrary and illegal retention of American property in contravention of treaty and request the immediate return of the property in question to the owners.