811.5034 (China) Eastern Publishing Co./28

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

No. 853

Sir: With reference to the Department’s telegram No. 121 of May 13, 1 p.m., and my reply No. 233 of May 19, 5 p.m., concerning the radical propaganda magazine the Voice of China, published at Shanghai by the Eastern Publishing Company owned by one Max Granich, an American citizen, I have the honor to report that early in June the Shanghai Municipal Police supplied the Consulate General a copy of the June first issue of the Voice of China and directed attention to the fact that it contained a statement that the publication is “registered with the Central Publicity Committee of the Kuomintang at Nanking.” An officer of the Consulate General was informed that the Municipal Police were making inquiries to ascertain whether such registration had actually been effected.

On June twelfth there was received from the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Branch), Shanghai Municipal Council, a copy of a confidential memorandum reporting the result of the inquiries made by the police. A copy of the memorandum is enclosed.32

The June fifteenth issue of the Voice of China has now been issued, a copy supplied to the Consulate General by the Municipal Police, and attention directed to the statement now appearing therein as follows:

“Published twice a month by The Eastern Publishing Co., (An American Firm) 749 Bubbling Well Road, Shanghai, China. Registered with the Central Publicity Committee of the Kuomintang at Nanking, and with the Chinese Post Office as a newspaper, Registry No. 2306.”

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The officer of the Police who supplied the copy of the publication to the Consulate General stated that while he had not yet definitely confirmed the registration of the publication with the Chinese Office he felt certain that this had now been effected.

The publication appears, therefore, to have been reinstated in the good opinion of the Chinese authorities, not seemingly by reason of any radical change in the magazine’s character but because the Chinese authorities and the Kuomintang headquarters in particular have modified their views, presumably as the result of recent political events following the Sian coup.33 As the Department is aware from the political reports from China, some sort of rapprochement has taken place between the Chinese Communists and the Kuomintang and Nanking Government.

It is quite likely that the Voice of China will abandon the tendency which it had for sometime of criticizing the Government at Nanking and devote more effort even than before to the propagation of anti-Japanese sentiment. Its activities in this respect are likely to become even more embarrassing to the American authorities than were those in which criticism was directed against the Nanking Government.

I continue to hold firmly to the view expressed in the last paragraph of my telegram No. 233 of May 19, 5 p.m., to the effect that the activities of this publication cannot be considered in any way as advancing American interests or prestige in China; that they are calculated to foment discord and to disseminate propaganda prejudicial to peace and good order and to friendly relations between peoples and Governments with which the American Government and peoples are at peace; that such activities are a gross abuse 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 his activities.

The Department is aware of the reports that the activities and support of the Third Internationale are being directed away from criticism and attack on the National Government of China, toward the development of a “popular front” of opposition to Japan.

The propagandists of the Kuomintang are only too willing to allow others than the Chinese authorities to bear the burden of complaint for the publication and dissemination of anti-Japanese propaganda of the character of the articles appearing in the Voice of China. One can imagine them well disposed toward the conduct of such propaganda under the American flag, with the opportunity that it offers to evade responsibility before Japanese complaint and transfer the burden to the American authorities. I am somewhat surprised, [Page 689]however, that the Central Publicity Committee of the Kuomintang, even though it is becoming increasingly bolder along with the Government and local authorities in the attitude toward Japan and the Japanese, should permit a public sponsorship of the activities of the editor of the Voice of China. I anticipate that in due course, even though the publication may retain the support and recognition of the propaganda organ of the Kuomintang, it will be found expedient to direct Granich to remove from the caption of his publication this Party sponsorship of his activities.

I shall, of course, continue in my attitude that the person and property of Max Granich as an American citizen are subject to American protection; but I shall also continue, unless otherwise instructed by the Department or by the Ambassador, to decline to give Granich any recognition, countenance or support in his anti-Japanese propaganda activities.

While numerous reports on the Voice of China have been communicated to the Department, I have received no instructions therefrom in criticism of the attitude assumed by the Consulate General or in correction of the position which has been taken as representing, in my opinion, the attitude calculated to serve the best interests of the United States. I invite any instructions the Department may see fit to give for my guidance in future in connection with this magazine and the activities of its editor and publisher.

Respectfully yours,

C. E. Gauss