The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to American Consular Officers in China18
Sirs: You are informed that some time ago the Consul General at Hankow consulted the Embassy with regard to the attitude to be taken by American consular officers in China when asked for advice by American missionaries wishing to proceed to interior regions which are, or may become, areas of disturbance. Mr. Josselyn pointed to the [Page 559]indisputable fact that it is often impossible, at a great distance, for the consular officer to ascertain beyond a doubt whether it will be safe for an American citizen to take up, or to continue, his residence in any particular locality and he suggested that, while the consular officer should provide any given missionary organization with all the information on the subject which he might be able to obtain, the missionary organization itself should shoulder responsibility for its decision. Mr. Josselyn raised the legitimate question whether a missionary organization with representatives and Chinese correspondents in a given area is not in a better position than an American consular officer to determine whether it is advisable for its missionaries to travel or reside in any given locality.
There is now enclosed for your information and guidance a copy of the Embassy’s instruction of April 26, 1937, to Consul General Josselyn, which has been approved by the Department. This instruction discusses the protection, travel and residence of American citizens in the interior of China. Although the instruction may seem to deal in large part with American missionaries and missionary organizations, the principles involved may of course be applied in the case of American citizens engaged in other occupations.
Very truly yours,
Counselor of Embassy