811.5034 (China) Eastern Publishing Co./25: Telegram

The Consul General at Shanghai (Gauss) to the Secretary of State

233. Referring to the Department’s 121 of May 13, 1 p.m., I submit the following:

The Eastern Publishing Company is conducted by Max Granich, an American citizen who has been publishing at Shanghai and circulating in China and abroad a radical magazine of a highly propaganda character to which the Chinese authorities have objected. Granich has admitted that the magazine is designedly anti-Japanese.

Copies of the magazine have several times been seized from Chinese news dealers under orders of the Chinese court at Shanghai and have been confiscated under formal court proceedings. When Granich complained of this matter, alleging that the magazines were in the hands of dealers on consignment and remained his property until sold, the Consulate General told him that he might pursue his legal remedies if he so desired. See my despatch No. 220.31

In mailing copies through the Chinese Post Office, Granich was well aware of the fact that the Chinese authorities objected to the publication and dissemination of his magazine. He therefore assumed the risk of their mailing under such conditions. As the Department will recall from the Vanguard Press case 1935, seizures at a post office are not made by the postal authorities but by censors operating under the National Military Commission.

While I [decline?] to assist Granich in the Post Office case, I may report that more recently an officer of the Shanghai Municipal Police asked my consent to the seizure of an entire issue of the magazine while en route from the printers, who unfortunately are also American, to the office of the publisher in the International Settlement. I declined emphatically to permit any such action, pointing out that it would represent an invasion of American property rights without due process in the court of competent jurisdiction. In this instance, of which Granich is of course not aware, I made the distinction between property in American possession and the situation where Granich well known [knowing] that the Chinese authorities objected to the dissemination of his magazine, knowingly and voluntarily entrusted dissemination to a Chinese Government agency—the Post Office.

As has been fully reported to the Department, the Consulate General canceled the registration of the Eastern Publishing Company when the character of its activities became apparent. Those activities cannot [Page 687]be considered in any way as advancing American interests or prestige in China. They are calculated to foment discord and to disseminate propaganda prejudicial to peace and good order and to the friendly relations between peoples and governments with which the American Government and people are at peace. I consider that such activities are a gross abuse of the privilege of extraterritoriality and that in pursuance of the Good Neighbor policy of the American Government no recognition, countenance or support should be given to Granich in such activities. The Department is aware that there is suspicion that the activities of Granich are being conducted in the interest of the Third Internationale.

Gauss
  1. May 22, 1936, not printed.