793.003/850a: Telegram

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

55. For the attention only of the Ambassador and the Counselor.29

The Department has for some time been giving thought to the question of the advisability of this Government taking the initiative in approaching the Chinese Government with an offer to resume the extraterritoriality negotiations which have been in abeyance since 1931. Before giving further consideration to the matter, the Department desires to have the benefit of your views and comments. It is particularly desired that you give your considered opinion as to the opportuneness of such action at this time, bearing in mind in that connection (1) the question whether the resumption of such negotiations at this time would be likely to have a disturbing effect upon the general situation in the Far East, with special reference to Sino-Japanese relations, and (2) the question of the likelihood of the Chinese Government being willing to accept a draft of a treaty following substantially the lines of the draft treaty of July 14, 193130 (a copy of which was forwarded to Peiping under cover of Department’s instruction No. 550 of July 17, 193131). If, in your opinion, the Chinese Government would be likely to insist upon an agreement providing for a much more far-reaching relinquishment of American extraterritorial rights than that envisaged in 1931, it is desired that you give your view as to whether in the light of existing Chinese laws and administration of justice this Government would be warranted in taking an initiative in the matter.

The Department feels that this is a matter in which this Government should continue as in the past to collaborate with the British Government and the Department would therefore hope, before approaching the Chinese in the matter, to confer with the British Government. The Department would also hope, prior to initiating negotiations, to inform the Japanese Government and perhaps other interested governments of its intentions in the matter.

Please reply at early date.