893.51 Salt Funds/225: Telegram
The Chargé in China (Peck) to the Secretary of State
[Received March 22—8:30 a.m.]
198. O. C. Lockhart,60 Associate Director General of the Chinese Government Salt Administration, recently arrived in Chungking in compliance with instructions. He and I have tacitly avoided discussion of his affairs but he has informed Drumright61 orally and confidentially that he is considering the possibility of tendering his resignation unless steps are taken by the Chinese authorities to restore the principle of joint authority and responsibility of the foreign and Chinese officers of the salt service, the maintenance of which principle has been repeatedly asserted to be the policy of the Chinese Government. (See Embassy’s 175, March 29, 10 a.m., 193862 for what appear to be most recent assurances on this point.) Dr. Lockhart declared there has been an increasing tendency on the part of the Chinese authorities to disregard the principle of joint responsibility, especially in the case of his Chinese colleague, Mr. T. C. Chu, with whom he is not at present on good terms. Dr. Lockhart stated that the situation has become so unsatisfactory from his standpoint that he is considering the possibility of seeking a “showdown” before the Minister of Finance and that if satisfactory assurances are not forthcoming from the Minister in respect to the principle of joint responsibility he would appear to have no alternative but to resign. In this connection he deprecated Chinese pretensions that the principle of joint responsibility is being faithfully observed, whereas in reality it is being trampled upon.
Dr. Lockhart did not ask for American interposition on his behalf and the foregoing is therefore reported solely for the information of the Department. (See Embassy’s despatch No. 107, December 1963 in regard to the British proposal for the negotiation with the Japanese of a modus vivendi relating to the Salt Administration.)
Repeated to Peiping, Shanghai. Peiping mail to Tokyo.