Memorandum of Conversation, by the Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs (Hamilton)

During a brief conversation with Mr. Ashley Clarke of the British Foreign Office when he called at the Department today, I told him that we had been giving some thought to the question whether it would be desirable to issue at this time a declaration without any qualification that upon the restoration of peace the United States would relinquish its extraterritorial rights in China; also, as an alternative, whether it would be desirable to take an initiative toward concluding a treaty with China which would contain simply such a commitment. I said that we would be interested in knowing whether the British Foreign Office had been giving thought to any such procedure.

Mr. Clarke replied that he thought that no consideration had been given to any such measure. He said that his own offhand reaction was that such a measure, which he characterized as a “halfway measure”, would not be advisable. He expressed the view that it would be likely to be open to the same disadvantages at this time when so many military reverses have been encountered in the Far East as the taking of an initiative toward relinquishing extraterritorial rights in toto at this time. He expressed doubt whether a halfway measure would accomplish anything constructive.

After Mr. Clarke had expressed his views as indicated I said that speaking only for myself individually I also held views similar to those expressed by Mr. Clarke.

M[axwell] M. H[amilton]