893.114 Narcotics/2024: Telegram

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

202. Your despatches No. 836, June 21, No. 841, June 2251 and No. 852, June 24.52

(1) The statement by Acting Mayor Yu in his communication dated May 29 “the above-mentioned plan for the suppression of opium has been approved by the Anti-Opium Advisory Board of the League of Nations” is not strictly accurate.

While the Opium Advisory Committee has expressed approval of the general principle of registration and rationing of addicts that Committee has never either approved or disapproved the existing Chinese plan for the suppression of opium and has not recommended the establishment in foreign settlements or foreign concessions in China of registration offices. The Committee has gone no further than is shown by the following:

In November 1934 at the Nineteenth Session of the Opium Advisory Committee at Geneva the Chinese representative made a statement concerning the new Chinese drug laws. As stated in the Advisory Committee’s Report to the Council on the Work of the Nineteenth Session, “several members of the Committee, particularly the representatives of Spain, Italy, Portugal, Japan and Siam, congratulated the Chinese Government on the energy which it displayed in adopting these new measures.” Other members of the committee, however, while paying tribute to the activity displayed by the Chinese Government, supported the opinion of the Polish representative, who expressed the view that the new measures introduced a system of monopoly, and “hence, in his opinion, the Committee should neither approve nor disapprove the new policy adopted by China, but should first await the results it might produce. The [Page 700] representatives of Austria, Belgium, Canada, the United States of America and the United Kingdom also said the Committee could not give an opinion without a full knowledge of the results achieved, and for this reason the Belgian representative asked for an assurance that the Committee would be kept informed of the progress made.”
In 1935 the Advisory Committee in its report to the Council paid a tribute “to the determined efforts which were being made by the Chinese Government against the abuse of narcotic drugs” but certain members and the American representative continued to reserve judgment.
In 1936 the Committee, in a resolution noted “with great satisfaction the measures already taken by the Chinese Government for the purpose of suppressing the clandestine manufacture and the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs in the territory under its control”.

(2) The Department would regard with concern the establishment in the International Settlement of an office for the registration of opium addicts and the issuance of permits.

(3) Please inform Nicholson53 of the above and tell him that the American representative at the Opium Advisory Committee (a) has never supported the plan of suppressing opium smoking by means of monopolies, (b) at the last session urged abolition of the monopoly system and initiated a movement to embody in any future convention for limiting raw opium production provisions which would reduce by a stated percentage annually the quantities of raw opium to be made available for manufacture of prepared opium thus implementing the provision of the Hague Convention54 that suppression of prepared opium while it may be gradual must be effective.

The Committee in a formal resolution expressed the opinion that a convention for limiting production of the poppy “must necessarily contain provisions aiming at a gradual reduction of supplies of raw opium to monopolies.”

(4) Mail copies of this telegram to Nanking and Peiping.

  1. Neither printed.
  2. See footnote 48, p. 698.
  3. M. R. Nicholson, United States Treasury Attaché at Shanghai.
  4. Signed January 23, 1912, Foreign Relations, 1912, p. 196.