393.1164 Yenching University/21: Telegram

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

365. Following telegram has been received from Peiping:25 [Page 565]

“August 2, 5 p.m. Doctor Leighton Stuart of Yenching University addressed Embassy under date of July 30 as follows:

‘Yesterday we hoisted the American flag on the main campus of this University and on two of our residence compounds. If there should be any intrusion in violation of American treaty rights you will be notified’.

Yenching University is registered with the Ministry of Education (see Counselor Peck’s letter of April 9, 1936 to the Embassy here26). The attitude of the Department regarding American missionary educational institutions which have complied with the registration requirements of the Chinese Government is set forth in its instruction to the Legation No. 871 of May 23, 1928,27 a copy of which is enclosed with the Legation’s 252 of June 28 [1928]. Under that instruction I do not see how the Embassy can extend protection to Yenching University or consent to the flying of the American flag over the University premises. Doctor Stuart reports however that about 2 years ago you stated to him that he might fly the American flag. As there is no record in the files of the Embassy here of your reported statement to him, I will appreciate receiving your instructions in the matter by radio.

I believe that Doctor Stuart has taken his present action as a result of the destruction of Nankai University at Tientsin by the Japanese.”

To which I have sent following reply:

[“] August 4, 9 a.m. Your August 2, 5 p.m. If I had told Stuart that he might fly American flag over Yenching University surely I would have made some record of such a conversation, for matter has been discussed in the Embassy too many times for me to have failed to do this. I agree with you that I do not see how Embassy can extend protection to Yenching University or consent to the flying of the American flag over University premises. If there is an American interest in the property it seems to me that the most we can do will be to notify Chinese and Japanese of the existence of that interest.”

  1. From the Counselor of Embassy in China, Lockhart.
  2. Not found in Department files.
  3. Foreign Relations, 1928, vol. ii, p. 570.