811.5034 (China) American Radio Service/54: Telegram

The First Secretary of Embassy in China (Smyth) to the Secretary of State

349. Tientsin’s September 30, 6 p.m., to Peiping repeated to the Department, Chungking. American Radio Service. Tientsin is requested to clarify the following points: (1) were the transmitting and receiving units found on the premises set up and in operation or were they merely placed in Andersen, Meyer for storage; (2) who took possession of the equipment, Japanese or French, and who has it now.

In its 129, August 14, 7 p.m., to Peiping, the Department stated that the American Government would not be in a position to accord the “enterprise” diplomatic protection or the good offices of the Tientsin Consulate General. However, the question of the seizure of American property appears to be another matter. If Fletcher is convinced that the equipment under reference is in fact bona fide American property, the Embassy considers that he should object to its seizure without due process of law.

If, as seems probable from Tientsin’s telegram, the equipment is now in the hands of the Japanese authorities, the Embassy considers [Page 922] that Fletcher should inform his Japanese colleague in writing that the Government of the United States does not recognize the right of Japanese authorities to subject American citizens or property in China to Japanese regulations in that country; the Embassy considers that he should protest against the illegal seizure of American property and request its immediate return. The Embassy further believes that he should inform the Japanese Consulate General that any proceedings against an American citizen including the question of American property must be undertaken in the appropriate American court and in pursuance of American laws applicable to American citizens in China (see Department’s 135, August 29, 4 p.m., to Peiping). The Embassy also considers that Fletcher should protest to the Japanese Consulate General against Japanese interference with an American consular court official in the performance of his official duties.

The Department’s comments on the above recommendations are respectfully requested by radio.

Tientsin’s telegram under reference has been repeated to Tokyo by this office.

Sent to the Department. Repeated to Tientsin, Chungking, Tokyo.