893.4061 Motion Pictures/202: Telegram

The Counselor of Embassy in China ( Peck ) to the Secretary of State

331. Embassy’s 329, November 18, noon, from Nanking.

During informal conversation today at the Foreign Office I was told that as early as April last Vice Consul Kiang at Los Angeles informed Paramount that “The General Died at Dawn” would be offensive to the Chinese in its then existing form and subsequently gave other warnings but that Paramount returned a written reply that modification of the film was impossible. It was represented to me that the present ban of all Paramount pictures is therefore the effect of a long controversy between Paramount and the Censorship Committee with the Vice Consul and the Foreign Office serving as channel of communication. Since the Foreign Office brought up this subject for discussion I took the opportunity to object to the banning of other films to bring about suppression of the film in dispute since this was at best an extra legal measure and might be regarded as illegal infringement on the rights of innocent third parties, for example, the [Page 680] theatres concerned. The Foreign Office official volunteered to try to settle this controversy at least to the extent of withdrawal of the ban until the film in dispute could arrive in China and be inspected by the Censorship Committee.
Sent to Peiping.