893.4061 Motion Pictures/199: Telegram

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

553. Your 271, November 11, 3 p.m. Peck reports under date of November 13 a conversation with Mr. Kao, sales manager for Paramount, who reported that question of ban on “The General Died at Dawn” had been compromised by him with Lo Kang, Chairman of the Censorship Committee, as follows: the Censorship Committee will allow Paramount 40 days to bring to China a positive and a negative of the picture, the company to guarantee that if the committee disapproved of the picture all existing prints would be destroyed, the company to furnish satisfactory guarantee that this action would be taken. In the meantime the committee will resume censoring of Paramount pictures. Peck had not been informed whether the parent company had accepted this solution or not.

Kao told Peck that while the company conceded the right of the Chinese Government to ban a picture from China, it did not concede the right of the Government to demand its suppression all over the world. Peck replied that if it was conceded that China had the right to ban a picture in China it seemed to follow as a matter of course that the Government might ban the showing of all pictures in China of a given company as a means of compulsion.

I shall await developments to determine whether further steps seem advisable. Peck protested orally to Wu, Director of the Department [Page 678] of International Affairs of the Foreign Office, on November 11, against the arbitrary treatment meted out to Paramount.

Repeated to Nanking.