Memorandum by the Adviser on Political Relations (Hornbeck)

I concur in the conclusion expressed by Mr. Adams “that there is more to be lost than gained by abolishing extraterritoriality now”. I would not, however, make the commitment which Mr. Adams makes regarding when the question of revision “can more intelligently be undertaken”: the situation may change before there comes “the termination of hostilities”.

I also concur in Mr. Hamilton’s recommendation that a small committee (described) be set up “to begin in strict confidence preparatory work looking toward the drafting of a suitable treaty which might be presented by this Government to the Chinese Government [depending on developments]10 in the not too distant future”—provided, however, it be made clear that this procedure can be and must be kept confidential.

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The considerations advanced (in both memoranda) contra taking definite action of a conclusive character “now” seem to me substantially to outweigh the considerations pro. The subject of our extraterritorial rights in China is not at this moment vividly in the minds either of the Chinese or of our own people. There is not at this moment special need for special action on our part in support of Chinese morale or by way of conciliating the Chinese. I see no good reason for us to “play this card” at this time. There may come a time when we will need a card and when it would be advantageous for us to have this card and opportune for us to play it. We should make such preparations as would put us in position to move promptly and well if, when and as occasion arises.

S[tanley] K. H[ornbeck]
  1. Brackets appear in the original.