The Ambassador in China (Johnson) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 15—10:55 a.m.]
116. 1. The National Government Gazette has published instruction to Executive and Judicial Yuans dated March 6 which (1) quotes in part a resolution passed by recent plenary session of Central Executive and Supervisory Committees that “the Government should conduct negotiations with the countries concerned for the early abolition of extraterritorial rights enjoyed by them in China in order to uphold the integrity of the judicial rights of our country” and (2) instructs the Executive Yuan “to direct the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct effective negotiations. [”]
2. The resolution was not previously made public and no reference to it was contained in current press and other reports of the session’s proceedings. New Minister for Foreign Affairs26 made no direct reference to extraterritoriality in his statement of policy issued March 8 (see our No. 107 March 8, 4 p.m.27) and did not mention matter to me when I called March 10 (see our No. 113, March 11, 10 a.m.28).
3. I have not heard that the Chinese have broached the question to any foreign mission. I am accordingly unable to say at present whether this instruction portends a definite revival of the question or whether the resolution and consequent instruction may be regarded as gestures designed chiefly to keep the matter on the record.
4. One curious circumstance is that Reuters from Tokyo March 5th stated that “profound sympathy and full appreciation is being voiced by Foreign Office circles for the Chinese national aspiration to abolish courts in China” and “it is understood that the new Foreign Minister is starting negotiations with foreign powers for the early abolition of extraterritoriality”. This may indicate that the Japanese themselves have directly or indirectly raised the question with a view to (1) undermining the status of certain foreigners in China, (2) directing attention from themselves to the loss of Chinese sovereignty inherent in the extraterritorial rights enjoyed by “imperialist” treaty powers, (3) following a natural course consequent upon and consistent with the abolition of extraterritorial rights in Manchukuo.
5. To the Department. By mail to Peiping, Tokyo.